Friday, October 31, 2008


Tēnā koutou katoa - Greetings to you allpumpkin latern

Way back last century, farmers in Scotland sometimes used a pumpkin or turnip for the head of a scarecrow. Chosen for its size, shape and colour tone, such vegetables could look convincingly like a human face. Perhaps their use for this dates back to early primitive times. I’d like to think it did.

The Celts also used pumpkins and the like to frighten off superstition.

Maybe the features of a face were fashioning by cutting holes in the hollowed out gourd.
Perhaps a primitive candle, made from animal fat and plant fibre, could have been used to serve its function as a lantern – who knows?

I can recall the first time I saw a pumpkin lantern as a child.
It was Halloween. Carried by one of a group of children, walking after dark along the dimly lit Scottish street where I lived - this was really scary to me. I can imagine how this, otherwise lifeless piece of carved vegetable, with its eerie ghoulish appearance, could conjure up fear in someone viewing it from a distance.

According to Wikipedia, the Celts believed that “the head was the most powerful part of the body containing the spirit and the knowledge”. For this reason, belief was that the pumkin had the power to ward off evil spirits. It puts quite a different perspective on the term pumpkin-head!

Ka kite anō – Catch ya later


Paul C said...

Hi Ken,
I love pumpkins. My family has enjoyed the pumpkin carving ritual every year and placed them on our front door step for trick or treaters with a candle inside. I really like the high tech option of the video with a switch - cool!

In my garden I have grown The Atlantic Gigantic variety of pumpkin. These get huge. At competitions they are over 1,000 pounds. Mine are about 100 pounds but still pretty impressive.

Happy Halloween!

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Sheesh Paul!

What sort of candle do you put in a 100 pound pumpkin when you're done with it? Are they good to eat too? If so they'd make a heck-of-a-lot of of pumpkin pie!

Enjoy your Halloween!

Ka kite