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Hi there,

I thought I would share this interesting tale about the origin of the Jack O’Lantern. I originally read it on Darlene Foster’s blog, darlenefoster.wordoress.come and then found it again on the History Channel.

Pumpkins with ghoulish faces and illuminated by candles are a sure sign of the Halloween season. The practice of decorating jack-o’-lanterns originated in Ireland, where large turnips and potatoes served as early canvasses. In fact, the name, jack-o’-lantern, comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and it became an integral part of Halloween festivities.

The Legend of “Stingy Jack”

People have been making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. 

Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”

Enjoy this fun day, 🎃Bernadette


  1. Darlene – British Columbia, Canada – Writer of children's stories, short stories and travel articles. https://twitter.com/#!/supermegawoman http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=201634059868404&id=631897250&ref=notif&notif_t=like#!/pages/Darlene-Foster-Writer/362236842733
    Darlene says:

    Such a cool story. How great you are sharing it. Happy Halloween!

  2. Francis Ashis – Life is invaluable so let's speak more of life and it's glories. Let us support others to take life as an important assign which must be completed in a joyful way and thus tasting the real essence of it.It is the greatest gift of God for all of us so we ought to accept it in a jovial way.Disinterest in doing so invites the end of it.
    francisashis says:

    This is very interesting,I haven’t read or heard it before.Thank you very much for sharing.Take care.🙏😊🌹

  3. LoseWeightWithAng – Hi, I'm Ang! I've conquered weight loss and binge eating and would love to help you too. Follow for fitness and weight loss tips, motivation, and health advice! To become the best version of yourself, visit https://loseweightwithang.com/
    LoseWeightWithAng says:

    It was cool to hear about the origins of the name Jack O’ Lantern. Thanks Bernadette, and happy Halloween to you!

  4. sammee44 – Victoria, BC – I am a West Coast Reader and Writer who enjoys the big and little things in Life. My philosophy is–if you don't enjoy those precious moments and savour the joy, then how can you appreciate the little things that crosses your daily path?
    sammee44 says:

    Thank you for such a great Halloween post about the origins of Jack-O’ Lantern! Am posting the link and hopefully pinging/reblogging on my site https://www.chocofigbee.com
    Happy Halloween, Bernadette!

  5. sammee44 – Victoria, BC – I am a West Coast Reader and Writer who enjoys the big and little things in Life. My philosophy is–if you don't enjoy those precious moments and savour the joy, then how can you appreciate the little things that crosses your daily path?
    sammee44 says:

    Have reblogged “Wishing You All Treats and No Tricks” on my link

  6. Time Traveler of Life – Where my Motor Home is! – Biography Creating worlds, characters, and wielding power like a madwoman, making my characters happy, sad, angry, and some of them with no redeeming qualities. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I sometimes laugh out loud when I am writing a scene, and I have been known to cry when one of my favorites has to die. I am a left-handed Gemini, what do you expect? Reading bedtime stories to my two children until they fell asleep or until they just told me to go away, was fun. Making up wild stories for my grandchild, and creating Halloween costumes from Cowboys to a Dragon, was another favorite thing to do. I missed that so much when they were grown, that I started writing. My yearly newsletters frequently were drafted third-person by my Love Birds, Miranda our motorhome, and by Sir Fit the White Knight, our faithful Honda. Throughout the years, some of my creative talents centered around writing letters of complaint expressing my displeasure with services or products. One crucial, at least to my Son, was a note to our local school bus driver petitioning her to allow him back on the bus. He was kicked off for making an obscene gesture at his buddy. I reminded her that it was not directed at her, and that “obscenity can be in the eye of the beholder,” kids use that gesture as a greeting. He rode the bus until he graduated. I loved driving my English teacher crazy. Leaving a “continued next week” at the end of my five handwritten pages required each week. He was one of many people that suggested I “do something about my writing.” I graduated from the School of Hard Knocks at the top of my class. After 30 years, in the trenches as a Real Estate Professional, I have found that truth is stranger than fiction. My books are filled with characters I met in that profession. Their names were changed to protect the guilty. Others were from people we met traveling around the country in Miranda, our Motorhome. I am married nearly 60 years to the love of my life, Shirl, and partner-produced two exceptionally talented children, and one grandchild who is our pride and joy.
    Time Traveler of Life says:

    Love it! It makes sense that the Devil and God would get even with the Stingy’s soul, however, one has to admire Stingy Jack’s ingenuity.

  7. pedometergeek – A pharmacist by profession, a haiku poet by nature, I read and write. I have my debut book of haiku, Ohayo Haiku, and another somewhat alternative haiku book, Three Breaths, but write other genres. I have an illustrated children's book, The Adventures of Aloysius. I also read…lots of novels! My favorite is, and remains, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged but I am also a big Harry Potter fan. I truly am a pedometer geek strapping on my pedometer as soon as I awaken.
    pedometergeek says:

    Never had heard this. What an interesting tale. Thanks for sharing it.

  8. the Painted Apron – Life is all about creativity for me, as long as I'm creating something I am happy! I hope I will inspire your daily life and give you ideas for your own wonderful creations!
    the Painted Apron says:

    Happy Halloween Bernadette, thank you for the great story!

  9. V.M.Sang – UK – I was born and educated in the north west of England. I trained as a teacher in Manchester and taught in Salford, Lancashire, Hampshire and Croydon. I write fantasy novels currently. I also make cards, knit, crochet, tat, do cross stitch and paint. I enjoy walking on the Downs, cycling and kayaking. I do not enjoy housework, but like cooking.
    V.M.Sang says:

    Interesting story. I’d not come across it before.
    I had to do research on Samhain for a book. I discovered that people used to light a candle and put it in the window to frighten away evil spirits that crossed the veil between the living and spirit worlds on this night.
    They also put out their fires to re-light them from the bonfires they lit to drive away the evil spirits.

  10. sue clancy – I create visual stories: fine art and artist books – in the genres of "animals in art" and "books in art". I tell my stories on walls, in books and even on "nontraditional" surfaces like coffee mugs. My fine art is represented by Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com, the Aurora Gallery www.auroragalleryonline.com and by Joseph Gierek Fine Art www.gierek.com – Thank you for letting me tell you a story!
    sue clancy says:

    How fun! Thank you!! Happy Halloween!

  11. Retirement Reflections – Vancouver Island, BC – Prior to retirement, I lived and worked in Beijing China for fourteen years (Middle School Principal/Deputy Director at The Western Academy of Beijing). Leaving international life behind, my husband and I retired to Vancouver Island in June 2015. To document both this transition and our new adventures, ‘Retirement Reflections’ was born. I hope that you enjoy reading these reflections, and will be willing to share your own.
    Retirement Reflections says:

    Awesome story! Thank you for sharing it. I hope that your Hallowe’en was a happy one!

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