One of the best traditions to take part in for Halloween is carving pumpkins, but have you ever thought about why we do it? If you stop to think about it, it seems like a very weird thing to be doing. The story of carving pumpkins is actually derived from Ireland!
Modern Halloween is derived from the Irish festival, “Samhain,” which marks the passage from summer into winter. During this festival, people took part in bonfires as it was believed that evil spirits lurked in the surrounding shadows. In an attempt to ward off these evil spirits around the area, rudimentary faces were carved into hollowed-out turnips. They were then placed in windows and alongside the road, much like what we do today, to light the way for travelers and invite in good spirits.
The tradition was brought to America by immigrants in the mid-1800s. It changed from turnips to pumpkins quickly. They became a staple as they were abundantly available and the easiest fruit to work with. The tradition, as you know, became so popular that it became a multi-million dollar industry. John Howden developed the ideal carving pumpkin in the 1960s and the Howden pumpkin is still the most popular Halloween pumpkin today. It’s thin flesh and shallow ribs make it easy for carving.
If pumpkin carving isn’t a tradition in your house for Halloween, it should be! It’s a great way to get creative and decorate your house for the holiday. With so many templates and tricks online, there are no excuses!