A Stranger in Vegas Halloween: The Devil’s Day Part 2: Pumpkins are Jack-O-Lantern
Pumpkins become very popular in America during Halloween. People take out the inside of them, curve them in scary faces shapes and put a candle or light inside. I’ve noticed that around all the houses, inside all the stores. I made a small research about the origin of the tradition and here is what I found;
An Irish man called ‘stingy Jack’ had invited the Devil for a drink. Jack did not wanted to pay although he was the host, so he tricked the Devil and made him turn himself into a coin so they can pay. Imagine how evil a person who can ploy the Devil can be. When the Devil did as asked, Jack didn’t pay but he kept the coin in his pocket with his silver cross in order to keep the Devil from turning back to his original shape. Finally, after a debate, Jack freed the Devil after he made him promise not to hurt or harass him for a year and not to drag his soul to hell when he dies. The next year in another meeting between the two, Jack tricked the Devil again into climbing up a tree to pick fruits. While the Devil was up, Jack carved the sign of a cross on the tree so the Devil won’t come down. Another promise was made which prevent the Devil from harassing Jack for 10 years.
When stingy Jack died, God wouldn’t allow him into heaven, Jack was beyond evil. The Devil on the other side shall keep his promise of not dragging Jack to hell. Jack’s spirit then was banished into the darkness with only a coal as a source of light. Jack put the coal into a carved turnip to keep it from going off from weather condition and he’s been wandering the earth ever since looking for a way out or a way back, even more looking for company.
Later in Ireland and Scotland people began to make their own Jack-O-Lantern by carving turnips and potatoes, placing them around doors and windows as a welcoming note for Jack’s spirit believing that he would come and take the evil spirits with him.
In America, the same tradition was embraced but with the use of pumpkins to make memorials of stingy Jack.
It is known that the story of stingy Jack is nothing but a myth, but who knows. Mythology is just another world that we can’t explain.