Spurred by my mother & my college degree, I began to wonder about this pumpkin. How exactly did it get to be so famous? It is the single symbol of not one, but two seasons. It’s double season showcase beats every other holiday symbol by one. That’s impressive.
Let’s get to know this pumpkin a little bit with some history & fun facts.
We carve them, we bake them, we drink them, we fill them with flowers & candles & branches galore. Some people smash them & that’s probably fun too. We make an entire family event just to pick them out.
Don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkins just as much as the next fall adoring soul. But why?
While Charlie Brown is partially to blame, it was the pilgrims who actually evolved the original name of the large melon from “pepon” to pumpkin. It is one of the few foods we enjoy on Thanksgiving that was actually at the first Thanksgiving. The Indians ate roasted pumpkin pieces then dried them out & wove them into mats. It was the pilgrims who took it upon themselves to sweeten it up. God bless those first American women! It’s even rumored that the early colonists were the first to try brewing pumpkin beer.
The jacko’lantern comes from a pretty silly Irish legend about a man named Jack having drinks with the devil, read the full story here. Ultimately the legend urged the Irish & Scottish to carve scary faces into turnips & potatoes to keep the evil spirits away. As the tradition made it’s way over to America, we replaced the potatoes with larger, friendlier pumpkins.
The pumpkin is a part of the squash family, apparently so are cucumbers! They grow on every continent, except Antarctica. They are a fruit, not a vegetable. So don’t get confused! The largest recorded pumpkin was 1458 pounds. Legend has it they even cure snake bites. I don’t think I’d be up to test that theory though!
Personally, pumpkins remind me of the crisp fall air, sweater season, chili, harvest season, baking with my grandmothers, mom & sisters, fires with smore’s, hayrides, hot chocolate, memories with family, pies upon pies & the spirit of giving and gatefulness. Those things mean fall to me & that’s exactly what the pumpkin evokes. Those warm cinnamon smells make me feel like a little girl in the kitchen begging to help make the biscuits.
Hoping this shed a little light on the pumpkin craze for you!