Which folktale inspired the Halloween Jack-o-Lantern?
- Stingy Jack
- Rip Van Winkle
- Jack and the Beanstalk
- The Pied Piper
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Answer: Irish legend has it that the jack-o’-lantern was named after a folktale and a man named “Stingy Jack.” Stingy Jack thought he had tricked the devil, but the devil had the last laugh, condemning Jack to an eternity of wandering the planet with only an ember of hellfire for light. The original jack-o’-lanterns were carved from turnips, potatoes or beets. Immigrants brought the jack-o’-lantern custom to North America, which is where pumpkins were first used to make the Halloween decorations, and eventually became the gourd of choice.
A jack-o’-lantern (or jack o’lantern) is a carved pumpkin or turnip lantern, associated with the holiday of Halloween and named after the phenomenon of a strange light flickering over peat bogs, called will-o’-the-wisp or jack-o’-lantern. In a jack-o’-lantern, the top of the pumpkin or turnip is cut off to form a lid, the inside flesh is scooped out, and an image — usually a monstrous or comical face – is carved out of the rind to expose the hollow interior. To create the lantern effect, a light source is placed within before the lid is closed. The light source is traditionally a flame such as a candle or tea light, but artificial jack-‘o-lanterns with electric lights are also marketed. It is common to see jack-o’-lanterns on doorsteps and otherwise used as decorations prior to and on Halloween.
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