Every October, beautiful vibrant pumpkins peer out from porches and doorsteps in the United States and other parts of the world.
Closer to the end of the month, these huge orange fruits carved with ghoulish faces and lit by candles are a sure sign of the Halloween season.
Carving pumpkins into Halloween jack-o’-lanterns is a way of life here, but this tradition originated hundreds of years ago in Ireland.
Back then, however, Ireland had no pumpkins, so jack-o’-lanterns were made out of turnips or potatoes. The practice of decorating “jack-o’-lanterns” comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack. Ancient Celtic cultures in Ireland carved turnips on All Hallow's Eve, and placed an ember in them, to keep evil spirits away.
When Irish immigrants first arrived in America, they discovered pumpkins and a new Halloween tradition was born!