Thursday, October 24, 2013

Some History of Jack O'Lanterns . . .

Jack did some research on pumpkin
carving in Ireland.

The Legend of
"Stingy Jack"

People have been making jack-o'-lanterns at Halloween for centuries.
The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack."
According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him.
True to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his drink,
so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that
Jack could use to buy their drinks.
Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money
and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross,
which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form.

 Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack
for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul.
The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil
into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit.
While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross
 into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down
until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes,
God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven.
The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him
and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell.
He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way.
Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip
and has been roaming the Earth with it ever since.
The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure
as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply "Jack O' Lantern."

In Ireland and Scotland,
people began to make their own versions of Jack's lanterns
by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes
and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten
away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits.
In England, large beets are used.
Immigrants from these countries brought the jack-o'-lantern
tradition with them when they came to the United States
They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America,
make perfect jack-o'-lanterns.
(Wonder why Jack was drawn to this history, huh.)

Thus, the carving began in our household.
Leave it to a man to use a Dewalt
to carve a pumpkin or turnip.

Funny thing is,
Jack thought he had a turnip
but found out later it was a

We now have a bunch of turnips ready
for a massive turnip carving
 planned for the weekend.

BTW, nothing stingy about my Jack guy!

I have been busy with 
garden clean up
and yesterday I managed to
finish cleaning the large front garden.

I had big plans for more garden work today
but guess what is
happening outdoors.
So my plans have changed quickly
happily so.
Being half way into a book trumps
working outside in the
wet snow, cold weather any day!
Get ready friends
the weather is changing
in a blink.
Until next time,


Joyce said...

The snow missed us here on the other side of the Lake. I've been scraping frost off the windshield this week though. Interesting read on Jack of the Lantern. Thanks for sharing. Joyce in WI

Willow said...

Ji Lynne ,
Loved the history lesson about the Jack of the Lantern !

TexWisGirl said...

snow! wow!

either jack was very clever or the devil was a dolt. :)

Gail said...


I enjoyed the history lesson.

I carve my pumpkins with wood tools and a Dremel. Sure easier than the Old Hickory butcher knife I use to use.

Lois said...

Loved the history of the Jack O Lantern.

missy said...

I added the History of the Jack O L to one of my Halloween posts..:) I'll delete it.....Is this your first snow??

Pamela Gordon said...

I have never heard that legend about the Jack o lantern before. Interesting. Keep the snow please. It seems to be flying around a lot of places this week.

Bonnie said...

Thanks for reminding me the Jack-O'Lantern legend. Snow.... what a great opportunity to spend some guiltless time with your book. Enjoy!

Paula said...

I've never heard that legend before. Very interesting, Lynne.

Bill said...

The origin of the jack-o-lantern is fascinating. Thanks for sharing it. It's easy to see why they traded turnips for pumpkins--far less difficult to carve.

Rural Revival said...

Cool history lesson!

And I just read TexWis's comment...too funny!

Musings from Kim K. said...

Chris and the girls have been busy carving pumpkins in the garage tonight. I love your jack o lanterns history lesson and your special rutabaga. The snow missed us. It does make me wonder what kind of winter we are in for this year?? Perhaps, our backyard ice rink will start before Christmas.

Weekend-Windup said...

Beautiful story about the Jack of the Latern

Kerin said...

Great story! I'm so going to share this with my family :)
We too have Irish and Scottish blood in us, and I think they will get a kick out of this story.

I really need to finish putting our gardens to bed for the winter.
The snow is a-coming, so I'd better get out and do it this weekend.

Thanks for this post, and thank your Jack for us for finding the history, and doing the fantastic carving!

Nancy said...

So glad you shared the story of Stingy Jack. I had never heard it. Somehow carving a turnip doesn't have the same fascination as pumpkins, but I think your hubby's rutabaga is fabulous. Love the fact that he used a "man" tool to do it. :)

MarmePurl said...

Is that dill wielding Jack attemping self portrait?

24 Corners said...

Lynne, I never knew the 'Jacks' real fun, love that you are keeping the turnip carving tradition alive!!! :)
xo J~

Sarah Huizenga said...

Fascinating history on the Jack O' Lantern. Love the DeWalt :)

koralee said...

No.....say you don't have snow! I am just enjoying the autumn leaves falling in our sunshine today. I really really love your little turnip man. Simply adorable!!! xoxo

eileeninmd said...

Lynne, I enjoyed the story about Stingy Jack, thanks for sharing. Cute turnip carving! Enjoy your day!

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Carving turnips is something that I have never heard of before, but it makes sense. Especially at this time of year when they are giant sized.

Snow is definitely a non starter for garden work.