Wednesday, September 18, 2013 Paulding County Progress Autumn Spectacular - 3
Trucking Service, Inc.
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850 W. Harrison Street • Paulding, OH
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A panoply of pumpkin picking particulars
Without a doubt the most recognizable symbol of Hal-loween is a pumpkin carved into a jack-o-lantern. To under-stand the origins of how pumpkin carving began and what itreally means we must first take a look at the holiday itself.How long has Halloween been around? Have there alwaysbeen pumpkins carved?
For most of the general population it is known as Halloweenand is a night for dressing up, telling ghost stories, havingspooky parties, Trick-or-Treating and pumpkin carving. Whatmost people don’t know is that Halloween is actually basedon an ancient Celtic holiday known as Samhain (pro-nounced “sow wan”), which means “summer’s end.”It was the end of the Celtic year, starting at sun-down on October 31st and goingthrough to sundown November 1st. It was a night to honor loved ones that had passedon since the veil betweentheir realm and ours isat its thinnest on thatnight.Celebrated for cen-turies by the Celts of old, witches andmany other nature- based religions, it isthe most magicalnight of the year. Al-though the religioussignificance of it has passed for the general public, Halloween is a“magical” night for all.
On this magical night, glowing jack-o-lanterns, carved from turnips or gourds, were set on porches and in windows to welcome deceased loved ones, but also to act as protection against malevolent spirits.Burning lumps of coal were used inside as a source of light,later to be replaced by candles.When European settlers, particularly the Irish, arrived inAmerica, they found the native pumpkin to be larger, easier to carve and seemed the perfect choice for jack-o-lanterns.Halloween didn’t really catch on big in this country untilthe late 1800s and has been celebrated in so many ways ever since.Pumpkins are indigenous to the western hemisphere andwere completely unknown in Europe before the time of Columbus. In 1584, the French explorer Jacques Cartier re- ported from the St. Lawrence region that he had found “grosmelons,” which was translated into English as “ponpions,”or pumpkins. In fact, pumpkins have been grown in Amer-ica for over 5,000 years. Native Americans called pumpkins“isquotersquash.”
SELECTING YOUR SPECIAL PUMPKIN
Selecting the pumpkins you’ll carve for your HalloweenJack-O’-Lanterns is very important. You’ll need to pick pumpkins according to what you want tocarve on them.Whether it’s simply carving a pumpkin to sit on the door step or holding pumpkincarving parties and con-tests, this age old tradi-tion is a main event for young and old alike.Depending on the va-riety, pumpkins canrange in size anywherefrom tiny to humon-gous. Medium sizedones work best for moststencils that you’ll makeor buy. Very large pump-kins can be carved withelaborate designs and used as“center pieces” on your porchor tables. Small pumpkins work fine for carving traditional faces, theycan be done fast and you can have many of them scatteredabout for parties, haunts or up your sidewalk as a lighted pathway.
ADVANCE PLANNING IS THE KEY
First, decide before buying your pumpkins what designsyou will be carving into them. This will allow you to createa shopping list or at least a mental idea of the shapes andsizes of pumpkins you’ll need.For standard carving without a stencil, decide if it should be tall and narrow, or more rounded, based on your ideas.Select pumpkins that are uniformly orange meaning that areripe, have no bruises, cuts or nicks.If you will be using a stencil to carve your pumpkin, se-lect a pumpkin that is large enough and as close to the sameshape as the pattern you’re going to carve. It should be assmooth as possible, and free of scratches, dents or gouges.