What would Halloween be without pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns and decorations? Although this is the plant most often associated with Halloween today, it may surprise you to know that in the past, other fruits and vegetables had strong connections to this holiday.
In England and Ireland, Halloween lanterns were originally carved out of turnips and large beets. Faces of demons were cut into the vegetables, and then a glowing coal was placed inside. People carried these lanterns around the village or left them burning on doorsteps to frighten away evil spirits.
When the Irish immigrants arrived in America, they found pumpkins abundant and much easier to carve than turnips. And thus, the tradition of turning pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns began.
The custom of decorating apples, pumpkins, cornstalks, and autumn leaves originates in an ancient Druid autumn festival called Samhain (pronounced SAH-win). The festival celebrated the end of summer and a successful harvest.
Today, apples are also used in a popular Halloween party game, bobbing for apples, and are often given out to treat-or-treaters. But the apple was more than just an edible treat during the Victorian era. It played a significant role in determining a young girl’s future. By slipping an apple under her pillow on Halloween Eve, she was sure to dream of her sweetheart.
Apples also were used to foretell the identity of the man she was to marry. At midnight on Halloween, a girl would stand in front of a mirror and brush her hair three times while eating an apple. The image of her future husband would appear in the mirror over her shoulder.
Once she saw his face, she peeled an apple in a single strip. She tossed the peel over her left shoulder using her right hand. The peelRead more on backyardgardener.com