Wednesday, October 13, 2010
In the United States, pumpkins go hand in hand with the fall holidays of Thanksgiving, and, of course, Halloween.
The pumpkin is a nutritious and versatile plant; the flowers, seeds and flesh are all edible and rich in vitamins. The flesh of the pumpkin is used to make soups, pies and breads, and many Americans include pumpkin pie in their Thanksgiving meals.
The practice of carving jack o'lanterns actually originated in Ireland hundreds of years ago, but they were not the carved pumpkins commonly used today; the original jack o'lanterns were carved from large turnips or potatoes. When Irish immigrants arrived in America they brought the jack o'lantern tradition with them, but soon discovered that the American pumpkin was larger and easier to carve, and a new Halloween tradition was born.
Pumpkin carving is a popular part of modern America's Halloween celebration. Come October, pumpkins can be found everywhere in the country from doorsteps to dinner tables. Despite the widespread carving that goes on in this country every autumn, few Americans really know why or when the jack o'lantern tradition began. Or, for that matter, whether the pumpkin is a fruit or a vegetable.
What do you think?