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Why Do We Curve Pumpkins on Halloween? Story of Jack-O-Lantern

Jack o Lantern

Halloween has its dark history rooting back to the ancient Celts who observed Samhain. However, the answer to why do we carve pumpkins on Halloween lies in the Irish folk tale about Jack-O-Lantern which come much later.

Story of Jack

According to myth, in old Ireland, lived a man named Jack. He was known by far for being the drunkard no man could outdrink. People spoke that he could pour bears for ten into his belly. However, when pay time would come, he was also capable of not paying for one. It is because deception was his only attribute capable of exceeding his drinking. People believed Jack was able to talk and trick his way out of anything. Carried on winds, rumors spread across the country and even managed to get inside the underworld. Hearing of this man, Satan felt both disbelief and envy for how could a single human being be capable of such abilities. After some time prince of darkness decided to check the story for himself. One night, Satan came to the world of living and leid next to the road pretending to be dead. On his way home, while sauntering over the curvy path, Jack stumbled upon Satan. He didn’t believe his eyes at first thinking that alcohol is playing tricks of him. However, after the dark prince stood up and said his final hour had come Jack knew it’s for real. He asked for one wish. Jack wanted to go to the nearest pub and drink. Satan agreed. After arriving to the pub, Satan ordered a bulk of alcoholic beverages and patiently waited for Jack to finish. After emptying all glasses Jack said he wanted to pay. The reason for such a decision, as he explained, was the wish to pay his bill at least once before leaving this world. Satan agreed. Yet another obstacle emerged on their way. Jack had no money. Prince of darkness agreed to turn into the coin Jack will use for payment. As soon as the devil changed form, Jack shoved him in his pocket where he previously put crucifix. This trapped Satan preventing him from changing his form. And so, the great prince of darkness became a coin in drunkard’s pocket. The dark prince had to make a deal in order to get free. Next ten years, Jack was free. But the time flies and the decade flew in a blink of an eye. Satan reappeared to take Jack. This time, drunkard wanted to eat just one more apple. He asked Satan to climb on the tree and take one as he was old and couldn’t do it himself. Satan agreed and again fell in the trap as Jack used his carelessness to encircle the tree wit crucifixes. Once again Satan had to make a deal. This time, the dark prince had to promise he was never going to take Jack to hell. Drunkard continued his life in the usual manner. However, everyone has his final hour. Jack died happy believing he was going to heaven. Unfortunately for him, avoiding hell didn’t mean he could just barge into the paradise. Saint Peter didn’t open gates for him to pass and said Jack was going to spend his eternity elsewhere. Having nowhere else to go, Jack went to hell. This time, it turned out he tricked himself as Satan wasn’t allowed to let him in due to a deal they struck. Jack was condemned to wander between to world for his eternity. Yet Satan felt petty for him and gave him a little ember to light his way between the other-side final destination. To keep light alive, Jack took a turnip and made a hole in which he placed ember. It is how the custom was born. Turnips were changed for pumpkins after Irishman migrated to the U.S. There were plenty of pumpkins and they proved to be easier for curving and lighting fire.


According to some myths Stingy Jack had a black cat for the companion.

If you are an adult and like odd stuff you might like the story of Halloween love.


2 thoughts on “Why Do We Curve Pumpkins on Halloween? Story of Jack-O-Lantern

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