Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 | Last Update : 08:52 PM IST
The practice of carving Jack-O-Lanterns finds its origin in Irish folklore. According to an old Irish legend, there was a old man who was nicknamed Stingy Jack. He loved to play tricks on everyone. One day, he invited the Devil to have a drink with him and didn't want to pay for his drink. He convinced the Devil to turn into a coin so that he could use it to buy their drunk. The Devil did so and once the Devil converted himself into a coin, Jack decided to keep the coin into his pocket next to a Silver Cross and that prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack bargained hard with the Devil and later freed the Devil under the condition that the Devil would not bother Jack for a year and should Jack die, he would not claim his soul.
The following year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing a tree to pick a fruit for him and once the Devil was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the holy cross into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down. Jack released the Devil under the condition that he would not bother him for the next 10 years.
Later when Jack died, God didn't allow such a deceitful soul into Heaven. The Devil also kept his word of not claiming Jack's soul. The devil did not allow Jack's soul 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 kept roaming the wandering on Earth ever since.
In Ireland and Scotland, people began carving faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or doors to frighten away the Stingy Jack and other evil spirits. Irish immigrants moved this culture to the United States. Since pumpkins, being native fruit to America made a perfect Jack-O'Lantern, they started carving faces into Pumpkins.