You Don’t Know Jack…

Filed under: Celebration - Orlando,Orlando Events |

And You Don’t Want To….

Ghost hunts, trick or treating and scary moments seem like national pastimes at this time of year …but why?

Why all the mystery and mystery? In a season of such darkness and deception, it’s time to shed some light on the eerie events of autumn.Over the next two days we’ll try to explain some of the weird things that go on this year and show you some of the things going on around Orlando at Halloween.

One of the best places to go when in the Kissimmee – Orlando area area at this time of year is the town of Celebration. It’s a quaint little place, originally built by the Walt Disney Corporation, and some of the natives get up to all sorts of fun and games. One of those is the pumpkin patch 9pictured above) and the opportunity to carve your very own Jack-O’-Lantern. But why do we do this?

Each year we spend an evening fashioning faces into various pumpkins but what is the real reason for this, on the face of it, absurd behavior?

As is true with many Halloween customs, the jack -o’-lantern  as we know stems from an old Irish tradition. Many Halloween customs have Irish ties, due in main to the influx of Irish immigrants during the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840’s. Back in Ireland, it was common practice to carve lanterns from vegetables, especially turnips. In fact, early jack-o’-lanterns were actually turnips and not pumpkins and they  were carved with scary faces to ward off wandering spirits. It was only when the tradition reached America that the larger and easier to carve pumpkin took over.

If we go back even further, we find the legend of Stingy Jack, a greedy soul who tricked the devil one too many times. In one popular version of this old folktale, Jack convinces the Devil to climb a tree and gather some fruit. Thinking he’s outsmarted the Devil, Jack carves a cross into the tree’s trunk, trapping the Devil in its limbs. Jack then agrees to free the Devil under the condition that the Devil spares Jack’s soul.

Time passed and Jack died. He then learned his unscrupulous life denied him entrance to Heaven and because of his deal with the Devil, who promised to reject his soul, Jack was left to roam the earth. As a parting gift, the Devil mockingly gave Jack a piece of coal with which Jack made his lantern.

The practice of carving jack-o’-lanterns originated in Ireland and Scotland as a way to ward off wandering spirits like the dreaded Jack the Lantern.

Tomorrow we’ll look at “Trick or Treaters” and pay a visit behind the scenes at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights… as well as see what other things the good folks in Celebration get up to to ward off the spirits!



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