Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Special Halloween Post!!

Happy Samhain everyone.

Halloween happens to be one of my favourite holidays, although its not as wide spread here in the UK. It's the only reason I ever flirted with the idea of moving to live in the states - to have Halloween's like I saw on TV, with costumes and candy. Unfortunately, as I was recently diagnosed as a diabetic the candies out but I can still enjoy some of the traditions.

Like making a jack o lantern, by carving a pumpkin.

No one knows for sure how the carving jack-o'-lanterns at Halloween came about. However, it is thought to have originally come from here in the UK. But did you know that they used to use Turnips? Turnip lanterns, sometimes with faces carved into them, were made on the festival of Samhain in the 19th century in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands.Samhain is a time when fairies and spirits were said to be active.The purpose of these lanterns may have been threefold. They may have been used to light one's way while outside on Samhain night; to represent the spirits and otherworldly beings; and/or to protect oneself and one's home from them, they were sometimes set on windowsills to barr them from one's home.However, others suggestions include that they originated with All Saints' Day/All Souls' Day (1st & 2nd of November) and that they represented Christian souls in purgatory.

The term jack-o'-lantern is in origin a term for an ignis fatuus or will-o'-the-wisp in English folklore, used especially in East Anglia, its earliest known use dating to the 1660s. The application of the term to carved pumpkins in American English is first attested in 1834, and the carved pumpkin lantern association with Halloween is recorded in 1866.

Immigrants from Britain and Ireland brought the tradition to North America. There, the pumpkin replaced the turnip as pumpkins were more readily available, bigger, and easier to carve.Typically you cut the off, and scoop out the flesh; then carve an image, usually a monstrous face and the lid replaced.Some place a lit candle inside and some don't. Personally I favour the candle, I love to see them lit up from the inside. I also love the new spate of untraditional pumpkins, that host movie references or cute cartoon characters.

Imagine how hard it had to be to carve the Twilight: New Moon one out! I envy those who have the time and patience to painstakingly carve out such intricate designs. My pumpkins have always been a lot simpler.
Here's my one from last year.

This year I am going to attempt a more intricate design.

Should be interesting. But after the pumpkin is all carved, lit up and barring the evil spirits and the annoying neighbour kids from my door. What do you do with the insides? Well you could throw it away I suppose or you could use it to make a delicious autumnal recipe. I've dug out two from the BBC website that I think look so tasty.

Have a great Halloween everyone. Trick or Treat!

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