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Holisticonline.com

Story of the Jack O' Lantern

Every year, as Halloween approaches, the landscape is filled with carved pumpkins. For our friends who are not familiar with the history behind this carving of pumpkin, I would like to share it with you.

The Jack O' Lantern originated from Ireland and not in the USA. Irish myth talked about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack."

According to the story, Stingy Jack was an old drunk who made a deal with the Devil. Stingy Jack was one of the stingiest men in town (that is how he earned his name). One evening Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have drink with him. Jack (being stingy and anxious to maintain his reputation) didn't want to pay for his drinks. So he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin. In return, Jack would relinquish his soul.

Once the Devil had made the transformation, Jack decided to keep the money and put it in his pocket next to a silver cross. This prevented the Devil from changing back to his true form.

Jack told the Devil that he would free him if he could be spared for one year. The Devil agreed.

Guess what? Jack changed his mind again. The next year, he once again tricked the Devil. Soon after, Stingy Jack passed away.

The legend goes that Jack was so mean he was not allowed into heaven. Since the Devil didn't trust him (he finally figured Jack out!), he was not allowed into hell either.

The Devil gave Stingy Jack a burning coal to light his way into the night. Unable to hold the coal with his bare hands, Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip. Jack had been roaming the Earth ever since, as he has nowhere to go, according to the story.

The Irish called this ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern" which later became, "Jack O' Lantern."

People began making their own version of the lantern by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes. They placed the candlelit masks into windows to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits.

The tradition came with the Irish to the United States. Immigrants soon discovered that pumpkins, native to America, make the perfect Jack O' Lanterns.

Carving Jack O' Lanterns is now a national tradition that has become synonymous with Halloween.

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