Thursday, October 29, 2009

Are you ready for the Goblins...

Are you ready for the little goblins and the big pumpkin at your house?  I have my few little decorations out, not many, mostly fall leaves and a last minute pumpkin on the table, but I do have my big bowl of candy already near the front door.  There has been a lot of talk about when trick or treat will take place this year, Friday or Saturday so, whatever day or both days, I am ready.  We don't get many children these days but the ones that are around we know so I have gotten full size bars to make it a little special.  If  truth be told it is partly because we love to have the left overs in full sizes. 
So what's with using the wonderful pumpkin at Halloween?  It seems that in the 1800s when so many immigrants came to America because of the Irish Potato Famine, they brought with them the traditions of Halloween and the use of the pumpkin.  Traditionally, the Jack-O-Lantern was carved from potatoes, beets and turnips and then lit with a burning lump of coal or little candles.  I find it hard to imagine, because we are so used to a big orange pumpkin, a home decorated with small potatoes and beets with a lump of coal inside. These vegetable lanterns were made to represent the souls of the dear departed ones and they set them on porches and in windows to welcome home the deceased. They also believed the little scary lanterns served as protection against malevolent spirits or goblins freed from the dead. Since turnips and gourds were not as readily available in the Americas the pumpkin was used and found to be a terrific and more scary replacement. Today the pumpkin Jack-O-Lantern is an essential part of Halloween celebrations.  As to the trick or treat giving of candy it is said to also come with the Celts to America at the same time. They tried to appease these wandering spirits or goblins by offering them gifts of fruit and nuts. They began the tradition of placing plates of their finest food and bits of treats that the household had to offer on their doorsteps, as gifts, to appease the hunger of the ghostly wanderers. What started out as something very serious to the Druids has turned into a fun time of decorations, parties, candy and lots of sweet little goblins wandering the neighborhood.  Are you ready for your little goblins yet?

1 comment:

  1. Some good history there, Jeanne, thanks for sharing. My daughter and I go all out, dress up both ourselves and our front porch and yard with tons of scary stuff! We love it! Oh, and we always buy candy that WE like so we can enjoy the leftovers.