Thursday, October 24, 2013

Halloween and Pumpkin Carving: A wonderful link!

     Pumpkin carving is of course a large part of the tradition for Halloween festivities whether for children or for adults. Children, of course love the traditional Jack O'Lantern. Apparently the origin of pumpkin carving has its roots in the carving of turnips and gourds which dates back to Celtic times several centuries ago. The practice of carving faces on these small much more difficult to carve garden objects and putting at first glowing coals in them and later candles began in conjunction with All Hallow's Eve, of course, the origin of Halloween. All Hallow's Eve was historically a time to celebrate the former lives of the dead. The positive part of this holiday was to bring back or at least honor the spirits of our dead loved ones. But there was a fear that this practice to bring back dead loved ones' spirits would also bring back the spirits of those who were not so loved or that were actually dangerous and perhaps evil. Therefore the practice of carving somewhat frightening faces on turnips and gourds started to warn off any spirits that might have malicious intent. Such practices as this date back to perhaps the 1500s. When the Irish and Scottish descendants of these Celtic peoples immigrated to the American colonies, they ran across a member of the squash family, the pumpkin and found it much easier to carve. By the late 1800s the practice of carving pumpkins in the United States had reached faddish proportions. As the centuries have advanced, the art of these pumpkin carvings has advanced. Many communities have pumpkin carving contests, and many adult parties include this activity. Adult creativity has now entered the childrens' world of the carved Jack O'Lantern. Every fall household magazines such as Ladies' Home Journal, and even Martha Stewart's magazine include sections on carving. The practice of taking off a portion of the outer skin of the pumpkin allowing degrees of light to shine through has led to very complex faces and even other typical Halloween vignettes and scenery. Also painting faces and scenes on the pumpkins has become popular. These painted pumpkins last longer than the carved variety because bacterial contamination does not prematurely decompose the pumpkin.

     However, I have not seen carving such as seen in the following website.

     Here is a wonderful link to an artist who has excelled in pumpkin carving. Check his work out. It is apparently well known in New York. He shows the objects created by his fall hobby at various sites in the city. I just enjoyed looking at his website and envisioning the layouts he must produce. He now is apparently selling a DVD and a tool set, etc. I am glad he is accomplishing financial gain from his hobby.

     Check him out and enjoy his website:

     Happy Halloween.

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