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Origins Of The Halloween Pumpkin

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The Jack O’Lantern pumpkin is one of the most emblematic traditions of Halloween.  Its eerie grin and phantom’s eyes is familiar to all and can be found on many door steps on Halloween night. But did you ever wonder where this practice originates?

It is thought to derive from an Anglo-Saxon pagan holiday called Samhain (pronounced sow-in).  This holiday represented the end of summer and harvest season. It was also a time when fairies and other spirit creatures would come out to join the world of the living.  Frightened peasants would carve scary faces in turnips beets to confuse the spirits and prevent them from entering their home.

This belief was brought over by the Christians migrants to North America. Overtime, the turnip was replaced by the pumpkin, a cheaper and more readily available vegetable in the 19th century.   The first carved pumpkin ever recorded was attested in 1834.

Today the Jack O’ Lantern is no longer used to protect oneself from the undead, but has become the essence of Halloween, and is an opportunity to put your creativity to a test.  Jack has now many faces from the more traditional ghoulish grin to amazing ornamental art pieces.

In celebration of this longstanding custom, the BEST WESTERN PLUS Chateau Granville will be organizing a Staff Pumpkin Carving Contest from Monday October 29th until Wednesday October 31st.  Carved pumpkins, big and small, will be displayed in the hotel lobby.  

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