The Jack-O’-Lantern

Happy Monday. It’s time for another Halloween Did You Know.

A fun modern Halloween tradition is the carving of the pumpkin! Typically, the pumpkin is hollowed out, a face is carved into one side, and a candle or other light is placed inside, making it a lantern. These days, many different types of artistic carvings are also common place and most people use a glowstick or LED light. The result is called a jack-o’-lantern.

But did you know jack-o’-lanterns were originally not carved from pumpkins?

It’s true.

jackolanternturnipAccording to both historical records and legends, the original lanterns were carved from turnips, and sometimes from potatoes, beets, and other plentiful roots of the year’s harvest. This is because the practice began in Celtic Ireland hundreds of years ago and spread to Scotland and Britain before being brought to the US by immigrants. In the US, they discovered pumpkins made great jack-o’-lanterns.

While carving a pumpkin and roasting pumpkin seeds is great fun and time-honored tradition, if you want to get old-school, go find you a nice fat turnip.


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