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Archive for jack o’lantern

History of the Jack-O’-Lantern

By Linda Tancs

The Irish legend of Stingy Jack gave birth to the jack-o’-lantern. When Jack ran into the devil at a local pub, he tricked the devil into buying him a drink by promising him his soul in exchange for a sixpence. Well, when the devil transformed into a coin, Jack held on to it instead and covered it with crosses so the devil couldn’t change back. Eventually Jack relented but, figuring he’d have to fulfill his promise, he tried to buy more time by asking the devil to pluck him an apple to eat from a nearby tree. Then he covered the tree with crosses and trapped the evil one again. When Jack died, he was denied entrance to heaven because of his deceitful ways. Likewise, the devil turned him away, tossing him an ember to roam about the night. Stingy Jack placed the ember in a hollowed-out turnip to light his way as he scoured the earth for a final resting place. The Irish called the ghost of Stingy Jack, “Jack of the Lantern”—Jack O’ Lantern.

Pumpkin Envy in Providence

By Linda Tancs

Painter Marc Chagall observed that great art picks up where nature ends.  But sometimes nature produces great art, like the pumpkin show at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island.  Through 31 October an amazing array of lighted and intricately carved jack o’lanterns depicting past and contemporary culture will adorn a trail through the zoo.  Begin at the giraffe exhibit where the trail actually begins.  Commended by the U.S. Library of Congress, the event attracts hordes of fans so be prepared for long waits. 

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