if i had to list my top three holidays they would be in the following order: halloween, christmas and thanksgiving. for many reasons, but mostly because they fall during my favorite seasons, fall and winter.
halloween is near…and it’s time to carve a pumpkin…
the jack-o-lantern custom comes from irish folklore. ss the tale is told, a man named jack, who was notorious as a drunkard and trickster, tricked satan into climbing a tree. jack then carved an image of a cross in the tree’s trunk, trapping the devil up the tree. jack made a deal with the devil that, if he would never tempt him again, he would promise to let him down the tree. according to the folk tale, after jack died, he was denied entrance to heaven because of his evil ways, but he was also denied access to hell because he had tricked the devil. instead, the devil gave him a single ember to light his way through the frigid darkness. the ember was placed inside a hollowed-out turnip to keep it glowing longer. the irish used turnips as their “jack’s lanterns” originally. but when the immigrants came to america, they found that pumpkins were far more plentiful than turnips. so the jack-o-lantern in america was a hollowed-out pumpkin, lit with an ember.
i’ve spent halloween, alone, or with friends, the last fourteen years. tonight, watching my swain carve the pumpkin brought tears to my eyes.