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article imagePhoto Essay: The pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns of Middle Tennessee Special

By Greta McClain     Oct 19, 2012 in Odd News
Nashville - The jack-o-lantern, which now days is typically a carved pumpkin, is probably one of the most recognized symbol of Halloween.
Although Halloween may typically be thought of as a night where the kids can dress up, knock on the neighbors door and get enough candy to keep them in a sugar coma for a week, adults enjoy their fun as well. Many of us dress up in our own elaborate costumes to attend the office party or neighborhood gathering.
What many people may not realize however is that Halloween is based on an ancient Celtic holiday known as Samhain, which translates into "summer's end". The holiday was a time to remember and honor loved ones that had passed away. It was a holiday celebrated at night because Celtic lore said the veil between the after life and the here and now is thinnest on that night.
According to Pumpkin Carving 101, glowing jack-o-lanterns, which were often carved from turnips or gourds, were set on porches and in windows of homes as a welcome symbol to deceased loved ones. It was also meant to help protect the home from malevolent spirits. Candles are typically used as a source of light now, but burning lumps of coal were the original sources of light.
Halloween did not really catch on in the United States until the late 1800's when an influx of Irish immigrants been coming to America according to New University. It was then that the tradition of using pumpkins began because of their larger size.
When looking at pumpkins in the store, at a produce stand or in a pumpkin field, they have a certain beauty all their own.
A group of pumpkins at a local produce stand.
A group of pumpkins at a local produce stand.
Pumpkins displayed at a product stand.
Pumpkins displayed at a product stand.
Several pumpkins and gourds stacked together at a produce stand.
Several pumpkins and gourds stacked together at a produce stand.
Pumpkins growing in a neighbors garden.
Pumpkins growing in a neighbors garden.
As the Halloween holiday approaches, you begin to see pumpkins transform into jack-o-lanterns, set out on neighborhood porches for others to admire.
Pumpkins on the front porch of a neighborhood home.
Pumpkins on the front porch of a neighborhood home.
A neighbor decided to put a jack-o-lantern within a jack-o-lantern last year.
A neighbor decided to put a jack-o-lantern within a jack-o-lantern last year.
If you prefer not to carve your pumpkin, you can still be creative by painting it.
If you aren t good with a knife  you can always paint your pumpkins as this friend did several years...
If you aren't good with a knife, you can always paint your pumpkins as this friend did several years ago.
There are some great patterns and ides for jack-o-lanterns at the History Channel.
More about Pumpkins, Pumpkin, Halloween pumpkin, Halloween, jackolantern
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