As I left the house this morning we have decorated, non-decorated, even plastic pumpkins outside and inside we have stuffed pumpkins even toilet paper wrapped to look like a pumpkin. Every house on my drive had pumpkins on their porch, in the front yards even in the driveway. I may be alone on this but I've always just accepted and never gave much thought as to why the pumpkin is the symbol for Fall & the Halloween season, until this morning. Why? Why the pumpkin.? What makes the pumpkin so special that it symbolizes this time of year.
As I drove, I asked myself more pumpkin related questions, how many pumpkins are used each year, where did the idea of carving pumpkins come from and I may be alone on this but do people actually eat pumpkins, other than in pumpkin pie? So I looked it up.
The tradition of carving faces into vegetables or fruits dates to the Celts. Many centuries ago as the summer harvest came to an end, the Celtic people prepared for the dark of winter by building big bonfires in their fields. They believed spirits lurked in the shadows around the bonfires so they wanted lights to guide their journey from the bonfires so they carved faces in vegetables to scare away those evil spirits. The Jack O'Lantern stems from an old Irish tale about a farmer named Jack to made a deal with the devil and was forced to wander the earth for all time. When immigrants showed up in N. America pumpkins were abundant and they decided it was the perfect fruit, because yes, pumpkin is fruit, to use to carve Jack O'Lanterns. https://americacomesalive.com/2013/10/30/why-carved-pumpkins-are-a-symbol-of-halloween/
Now we know where the idea of carving pumpkins comes from, how many pumpkins are grown each year in the US?
Over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins are grown just for the fall/Halloween season. Over 90,000 acres of U.S. farmland are dedicated exclusively to pumpkins, and the majority are grown in Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California. (MSN)
And do people eat pumpkins, other than pie? https://www.thekitchn.com/five-ways-to-eat-pumpkin-99617
Apparently so, and they're good for you.
Instead of just taking pumpkins for, it's just the way it is, now we all know a little more about why every house on the block has multiple pumpkins in and outside. This may be common knowledge to some but I'm sure there are plenty who didn't know the origins just like me.