For us to consider the pumpkin as a symbol of Halloween it’s almost automatic, but at theorigin of tradition there are myths and legends. In history Jack O’Lantern thus joins the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow. From rituals Celts to adaptations Americansthe quintessential horror party represents the union of different culturemerged together in a very successful mix.
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An ancient tradition
To trace the origin of the tradition that saw the pumpkin become the symbol of Halloween, it is necessary to retrace the history up to the time pre-Christian. It seems, in fact, that in ancient times the vegetables rounded in shape were used as a representation of test enemies and, therefore, revered as real gods trophies of war. To get closer to the customs of today, we must then contact the celts. These celebrated on November 1st Combine and the legend wanted that the night before the festivity the spirits of the dead walk among the living. To keep them away people wore back then costumes scary and carved turnips and beets into lantern.
Pumpkin symbol of Halloween: the origin
At the origin of the tradition that has chosen the pumpkin as a symbol of Halloween we find the Irish legend that has it as its protagonist Stingy Jack, Jack the Miser. This, after inviting the Devil drinking with him in the pub, he would persuade him to turn himself into a coin, then place it in his pocket next to a cross. Once released in exchange for the promise to be left alone the man would have deceived a second time. Finding himself, when dead, to be banished from both the Paradiso both fromInfernohe would stay at let them sit on Earth armed only with a turnip lantern. The story has been used for years as warning morals for the little ones. Some then adduced it as a fairy-tale explanation to the phenomenon of gods stupid fire. With the emergence ofelectricity in the 1930s Jack O’Lantern’s popularity faded, however.
Pumpkin and USA
In America, to understand what is at the origin of the custom that made the pumpkin a symbol of Halloween, we need to turn to the story by Washington Irving “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. At the climax of the story, the knight without a head, in fact, he throws one at Ichabod Crane pumpkin, making it disappear. The pumpkin had nothing special in the story, but the images who propose the variant of the flaming lantern have conquered the scenes.
The migrations late 19th-early 20th century and the consequent diffusion of the myth of Jack O’Lantern did the rest. In fact, the Irish realized that pumpkins were much more suitable to the role of turnip lanterns and this led to a radical change. In the 1892 then the first Halloween party was celebrated, a term that derives from the Scottish All Hallows’ EveAll Saints Night.
Today the pumpkin is the symbol undisputed of Halloween even if the origin of the custom is often forgotten. In America, and by now also in the rest of the world, the decoration and display of the vegetable has become a sort of symbol of community, which goes beyond the material gesture. L’Horror it remains a much-loved genre and the October 31 celebrations are highly anticipated.