While our minds instantly conjure up images of a glowing pumpkin when someone mentions the words Jack O’Lantern, you might be surprised by the origins of this old Irish tradition—I certainly was!
Irish folklore tells of a man nicknamed Stingy Jack who once tried to outsmart the Devil. After his passing, this bad deed kept him from entering both heaven AND hell. The Devil, upset by his trickery, refused to claim Jack’s soul in the afterlife. Instead, he ordered Jack to remain on Earth for all of eternity, forcing him into the cold, dark night with nothing but a burning lump of coal to light his way.
Jack placed this coal inside a small turnip that he carved into a lantern, and off he went. Ever since that fateful night, his ghostly spirit has been referred to as Jack of the Lantern—or Jack O’Lantern as we know it.
This legend took root all over Ireland, eventually spreading to neighboring countries like England and Scotland. People began to carve their own Jack O’Lanterns using turnips or potatoes, sometimes event beets. They would place them on window sills or near doors to ward off evil spirits like Stingy Jack.
When Irish immigrants brought this tradition to America, they soon discovered pumpkins were a much better (and easier) fruit for carving. Thank goodness—could you imagine carving a turnip?
So, the next time you find yourself carving a Jack O’Lantern, try to recall the story of Stingy Jack and be sure to watch your back.
Jack of the Lantern
At Travelnitch, we create opportunities for shared learning, so parents and children can explore the world together.
We deliver new and exciting experiences to encourage dialogue and provoke curiosity. For that reason, we have three primary goals: – Strengthen the bond between parent and child through a shared love of travel. – Forge a more meaningful connection between kids and the world around them. – Promote creative learning to inspire a lifelong passion for exploration.
Jack of the Lantern
Travel plays such an important role in our lives. It has the ability to change us for the better. It’s an experiential education that teaches us how to feel, think, act, and react in positive ways. Travel fosters creativity, builds confidence, and teaches us all to be more tolerant. My own kids benefit from travel every time we hit the open road. No amount of money can buy those life lessons.
Travelnitch is inspiring the next generation of explorers. We believe travel is a wonderful way to ignite the imagination and get kids excited about the world. However, we need your help to make this possible. Please spread the word and support our efforts to raise citizens of the world. Let’s go on this adventure together!