Why Do We Carve Jack-o-Lanterns For Halloween?

With all the seriousness and negativity in the media this season we thought we would bring to you a little exposé on a strange legend.

But have you ever wondered where the tradition of carving the pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern came from? What first prompted revelers to scoop out the insides of a pumpkin and place a candle inside before placing it in a prized spot on the front porch?

Well, wonder no more! We’ve got answers!

Stingy Jack

Although the legend varies slightly depending on who tells it, it turns out that our modern day jack-o-lanterns have roots that go way back centuries ago to an Irish myth about a man named “Stingy Jack.” According to legend, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him, yet true to his name, did not want to pay for it. Stingy Jack sneakily convinced the Devil to turn into a coin in order to pay for their drinks, and when he did, Stingy Jack pocketed him next to a silver cross that prevented the Devil from changing back to his true form.

Stingy Jack eventually freed the Devil, but made a deal with him that the Devil could not bother Jack for ten years. Stingy Jack carved a cross into a tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down. Eventually Stingy Jack died, but legend states that God would not let such a bad man into heaven, and the angered Devil would not allow him into Hell. So, the Devil sent Stingy Jack into the night with a burning coal to light his way. Stingy Jack put his coal into a carved-out turnip, and he is said to have been roaming the Earth ever since. Thus how the name “Jack-olantern” came to be!

The tradition began in Ireland where people began making their own jack-o-lanterns with scary faces that might frighten away Stingy Jack and other evil spirits, and the tradition made its way to the United States.

Traditions bring families together. Even those that may have a strange past or legend. It’s the time spent together enjoying lighthearted moments, family, friends and special meals.

At Flancer’s we are always happy and honored when you choose us to be a part of your family meals and parties. Before you head out this Halloween for an evening of trick-or-treating and parties, be sure to stop by Flancer’s in Gilbert or Mesa for friendly service and fresh, delicious food! And don’t worry about Stingy Jack… It’s the legend of the goat around here!

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