Who is Jack?

The Legend of Pumpkin Carving

Carving Pumpkins is a common tradition among many families in America. We get out our knives, stencils, and spoons, turn on spooky tunes and carve eyes noses and mouths giving big orange plump pumpkins a face. But where did the idea come from?

Although they did not have pumpkins in Ireland, Irish immigrants brought the idea of carving pumpkins to Jack-o-Lanterns in America. 

The first Jack-o-Lanterns were carved out of turnips, potatoes, and beets on All Hallows Eve with an ember in them to scare off evil spirits.

Carving Pumpkins into Jack-0-Lanterns came from the tale of “Stingy Jack”.

According to the tale “Stingy Jack,” there was a man named Jack who invited the Devil to have drinks with him. Being a stingy man,  Jack did not want to pay for the Devil’s drink and instead convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin. Instead of paying for the drinks, Jack puts the Devil into his pocket next to a cross so stripping him of his powers and making it so he can’t turn back to himself.

Jack promises to let him go if the Devil promises not to take his soul. Jack eventually dies but is denied access to heaven because of his dirty deeds. But because Jack also did the Devil wrong he was not allowed in hell either. So, the devil sent him into the dark night with nothing but an ember and Jack put it into a carved turnip. 

So next time you set out your Jack-O-Lanterns on the porch, think about the tale of Stingy Jack and his journey with evil.