Frontline

Filed under Focus, Showcase

The Origin of the Jack-O’-Lantern

You've seen them on your neighbors' porches, but what originally began this Halloween tradition?

Carved+from+pumpkins%2C+these+jack-o%27-lanterns+are+lit+with+small+candles.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

The Origin of the Jack-O’-Lantern

Carved from pumpkins, these jack-o'-lanterns are lit with small candles.

Carved from pumpkins, these jack-o'-lanterns are lit with small candles.

flickr.com under creative commons license

Carved from pumpkins, these jack-o'-lanterns are lit with small candles.

flickr.com under creative commons license

flickr.com under creative commons license

Carved from pumpkins, these jack-o'-lanterns are lit with small candles.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Jack-o’-lanterns, now common Halloween decorations today, date all the way back to the 1500s. Old Irish legends tell of a man, known as “Stingy Jack”, who trapped the Devil and in exchange for letting him loose, made Lucifer promise that he wouldn’t take his soul after death. However, when Jack died, he was not allowed into heaven by God due to his selfishness during life. After being rejected, Stingy Jack visited the Devil who turned him away as well (keeping his promise) and gave him a single burning coal, telling Jack to “find his own hell”.  Forced  into a perpetual state of limbo, castaway by both heaven and hell, Jack wanders the world without a resting place, keeping the burning coal in a hollowed out turnip.

Eventually, the legend evolved into a tradition as it spread throughout more of Europe and eventually the United States, via the Irish. Making lanterns out of vegetables became a popular Halloween trick, intended to scare others into believing they saw the burning coal of Stingy Jack. Nicknamed the jack- o’-lantern, reflecting the spooky lore behind it, the popularized tradition of carving a face only enhanced the scare factor and gradually became a widely accepted custom. Although vegetables such as turnips, potatoes and  beets were often used in the past to create jack-o’- lanterns, people discovered that the pumpkin was much larger and easier to carve. This resulted in the jack-o’-lantern that is largely seen today, an orange pumpkin with eyes, a nose, and a toothy, glowing grin.

And so, the jack-o’-lantern was born. Ever since, it has become a widespread decoration and tradition, marking the celebration Halloween and its haunting roots.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
It's only fair to share...Print this page
Print
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Leave a Comment

Frontline intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. We do not allow anonymous comments, and require a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




*

Navigate Left
  • Editor's Picks

    Lemon Drops, Bubblegum, and Summer Salt

  • The Origin of the Jack-O’-Lantern

    Music

    Lady Gaga Makes History

  • The Origin of the Jack-O’-Lantern

    Columns

    Trump vs the Crazies

  • The Origin of the Jack-O’-Lantern

    Feature

    The Foodie Space

  • The Origin of the Jack-O’-Lantern

    Columns

    Yellow: La couleur du changement

  • The Origin of the Jack-O’-Lantern

    Media&Arts

    Beginning a Bullet Journal

  • The Origin of the Jack-O’-Lantern

    Showcase

    What a RUN-derful Life

  • The Origin of the Jack-O’-Lantern

    Feature

    Athlete Feature – Mikayla Reyes

  • The Origin of the Jack-O’-Lantern

    El Mo News

    Walking for the Cure with Girls League

  • Columns

    Social Media and the Presidential Image

Navigate Right
The student news site of El Modena High School
The Origin of the Jack-O’-Lantern