Who Is Jack And Why Does He Need A Lantern?
'Tis the season for all things pumpkins. It's in food, perfume, and deodorant. The pumpkin itself gets it throat cut, guts removed, and stays in a window. Was there an actual person named "Jack" and why do we slash pumpkins in his honor?
The folklore comes from Ireland and a character named "Stingy Jack." My Irish grandmother told me, that Stingy Jack invited the devil to have a drink with him. Stingy Jack lived up to his name, and didn't want to pay for the drinks. He convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin, to pay the bartender. The devil did so, and Stingy Jack stuck the coin in his pocket, rather than pay the tab.
Jack agreed to free the devil after he got him to agree not to bother him for a year. Time went by and Stingy Jack died and God wouldn't allow such a person in heaven. The devil didn't want him in hell, so to teach Jack a lesson, he sent Jack away into the dark night, with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal in a carved out turnip and will spend eternity, roaming the earth. The Irish began calling him "Jack Of The Lantern" and then just "Jack O' Lantern."
Once the Irish emigrated to the United States, they found the pumpkin worked better than a turnip and another legend was born.