Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Legend of the Jack - O - Lantern

The custom of the jack-o-lantern came from Ireland and was first made out of holloed out turnips and beets. It was the immigrants to eventually ventured to America that later used the pumpkin and squash. According to the legend, the Jack-O-Lantern derived its name from a man named Jack. He was a mischievous lad who escaped the devil’s attempts to steal his soul on many an occasion. When Jack died, it was said that he could not get into heaven because of his naughty ways. He then went to the gates of hell, and the devil also refused him entrance.

The devil then tossed a piece of coal out to Jack as a jokingly way of offering him a means to find his way in the dark. Yet Jack was not that dumb. He placed the piece of coal into a carved out turnip creating a makeshift lantern which provided him light enough as he wandered about purgatory.

The placing of a light in the hollowed out pumpkins and squash today is a means to ward off the dark or any unwanted spirits. The pumpkin is to be placed at the front door or in any passageway in need of protection or light.

If you would like an extra entry for my Samhain giveaway. Go to the link and post a comment with the word Jack-o-lantern. 

23 comments:

Aine O'Brien said...

I love those tales - My pumpkin might as well be a turnip, really. I carved it, but you'd think a seven year old did it!!

Divaeva said...

Flew in from MrsB's :) Isn;t this a great legend? BB

Annette said...

One year I carried a hollowed out turnip holding a tea light while the girls trick-or-treated. It was great fun 'cept the tea light kept going out (it was breezy).

Queenammer said...

I am so glad you were a guest blog on Mrs. B's blog. I love your blog, I have put it on my google page to follow everyday! Keep up the awesome work!

Kallan said...

I love this blog! Jack-o-lanterns RULE!

D.Suplicki said...

I never get tired of reading the folk lore associated with holiday traditions. The jack o lantern one is one of my favorites. :)

TMCPhoto said...

I'd love to try a beet, the red would be just amazing. Now to find a beet big enough...

Sus said...

Love this post....thanks!

Treaya said...

I wasn't going to carve any pumpkins this year but after reading this now I can't wait to start carving pumpkins tonight. :)

Zombie Queen said...

I love the folklore! Especially when it comes to Samhain :)

Ayreonfae said...

I love this, learning a new thing is awesome and I love origination tales. Plus kids kids wait all year for pumpkins and Jack O Lanterns :)

SilverMoone said...

Came from Mrs. B's blog -- great post. Getting ready to pick out the perfect Pumpkin with my daughter for jack-o-lantern goodness!

Tabbycat said...

I am browsing around now and I am loving your Blog!

ELLIE said...

hopped over from mrs b's blog - I love your entry about the jack o lanterns - never knew the story behind them....thanks it was a great entry!!!

BleuMoon said...

I am enjoying the halloween posts you have put together - such fun! Thank you

bleumoon

A Green Spell said...

I love jack-o-lanterns and will have to remember to link to this post! Awesome!

Nydia said...

This is one of my favorite Halloween's lagends! Thanks for the cool post, Janie.
Love from us!

DK Spins said...

This is so interesting! I'd read that turnips were used before the New World, but never knew how they came to be lit. Thanks! Dianne in UT

Birgit said...

You always have the most interesting things to share, Janie -- thanks for all this great information! :)

Hugs,
Birgit

Tracy DeLuca said...

I love all the little bits of info you throw our way!

Teresa said...

I don't think I'd ever heard this legend. It is very interesting!

Lilac Wolf (Angie or Angela) said...

I always hear that about the turnips, but I can't get my head around how you'd carve that. I might just have to try it one time. lol

A Green Spell said...

Just had to come back today to say thanks for the runes you donated to the Mrs. B giveaway yesterday, which I just found out I won. Of all the prizes I've seen, that's the one I REALLY wanted, so I couldn't be more thrilled! Thanks!!