10/25/2016

Legend of Jack O'lantern

According to the Pumpkin Nook: 

Jack O'Lantern legend goes back hundreds of years in Irish History. Many of the stories, center round Stingy Jack. 

Here's the most popular story:

Stingy Jack was a miserable, old drunk who took pleasure in playing tricks on just about everyone: family, friends, his mother and even the Devil himself. One day, he tricked the Devil into climbing up an apple tree. After the Devil climbed up the tree, Stingy Jack hurriedly placed crosses around the trunk of the tree. Unable to touch a cross, the Devil was stuck in the tree. Stingy Jack made the Devil promise him not to take his soul when he died. Once the devil promised not to take his soul, Stingy Jack removed the crosses, and the Devil climbed down out of the apple tree.

Many years later, Jack died, he went to the pearly gates of Heaven and was told by Saint Peter that he was mean and cruel, and had led a miserable, worthless life on earth. Stingy Jack was not allowed to enter heaven. He then went down to Hell and the Devil. The Devil kept his promise and would not allow him to enter Hell. Now Jack was scared . He had nowhere to go, but to wander about forever in the dark Netherworld between heaven and hell. He asked the Devil how he could leave, as there was no light. The Devil tossed him an ember from the flames of Hell, to help Stingy Jack light his way. Jack had a Turnip with him. It was one of his favorite foods, and he always carried one with him. Jack hollowed out the Turnip, and placed the ember the Devil had given him, inside the turnip. From that day onward, Stingy Jack roamed the earth without a resting place, lighting his way as he went with his "Jack O'Lantern".

On all Hallow's eve, the Irish hollowed out Turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets. They placed a light in them to ward off evil spirits and keep Stingy Jack away. These were the original Jack O'Lanterns. In the 1800's a couple of waves of Irish immigrants came to America. The Irish immigrants quickly discovered that Pumpkins were bigger and easier to carve out. So they used pumpkins for Jack O'Lanterns.

11 comments:

Denise inVA said...

What an interesting story. I don't remember hearing it before.

Gosia k said...

Great.legend I will read it my.students

Marja said...

Oh that was an exciting interesting story I always thought that Halloween was American Didn't know it originated in Ireland

Patio Postcards said...

Interesting tale. I knew that the Irish with the turnip was where some of the pumpkin craze came from, but I do think the Americans took it to a whole other level. I am not a participant or supporter of Halloween, I do not like how ghoulish & gory it has become. Maybe a return to the original tale might be a good idea.

Prunella Pepperpot said...

A brilliant story.
I remember carving out swedes as a child in Scotland and pumpkins are far easier!
Have a wonderful week and a safe Halloween :)

Hetty said...

Dear Betty, here in Holland we do not know much about halloween. But I like this story. Many children must have been frightening by this story. Thanks for sharing. Groetjes Hetty

diane b said...

That was interesting. I always knew that it originated in Ireland.

bj said...

what a story...thanks for sharing.

ann said...

So glad that you visited the Garden Spot. I enjoyed reading about Jack. I knew that the Irish originally used turnips, which cracks me up. I can't barely carve a pumpkin, let alone a turnip.

marie claire said...

Eine interessante Storry, auch ein wenig gruselig. Schön geschrieben!
Herzliche Grüße, Klärchen

Vilt og vakkert said...

Heisann.... I was in Dublin last week for the first time in my life. Had fun walking in the streets and lanes meeting people dress up for Halloween.