Sorry about the delay in this post :( but Melynda Price our newest blogger posted a great intro below so make sure to drop down and give her a shout.
It's Fall….well actually the autumnal equinox is September 23 but it's close. So it's time to pack up the summer stuff and dig out the winter. AND it's time for pumpkins! I love pumpkins…they are amazing and have soooooo many different urban myths swirling around them.
First, the variety of sizes offers endless possibilities. Pumpkins come in all sizes from tiny to huge. Chris Stevens from WI holds the record for growing the biggest pumpkin at 1,810.5 pounds!
Literature has added to the magic swirling around the orange globes. Cinderella chariot started out as a pumpkin. Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin. The headless horse man uses one as his head. And as little kids we all learned Peter Peter Pumpkin eater…
Pumpkin carving, it is perhaps the biggest tradition of Halloween. But it's not the first vegetable to be carved.
Long before pumpkin carving became popular, Celtic people in Ireland were carving turnips and lighting them with embers, to ward off evil spirits. This Celtic custom was the historical root of pumpkin carving. The Irish immigrants brought their tradition with them. Pumpkins are native to America. In those days, they were not found in Ireland. As Irish immigrants came to America, they discovered pumpkins. They quickly discovered that hollow, softer pumpkins, were much easier to carve.
Carving turnips dates back many hundreds of years, to ancient Celtic customs and traditions.
This was commonly done on All Hollow's Eve, of which Halloween takes much of it's origin. Carving turnips never quite caught on in America.....thanks to pumpkins. But, you can try your hand a carving turnips for Halloween.
Did you Know? Rutabagas were also carved and lit to keep evil spirits away.
How to Carve Turnips for Halloween - - to Ward off Those Evil Spirits:
If you have evil spirits lurking in your neighborhood, you just might decide to carve a few turnips and set them out on your doorstep. Or, you may carry one with you, just in case you meet someone from the underworld, as you walk on your sidewalk some evening.
Here's how to carve turnips:
1. Pick a large turnip.
2. Cut off the top leaves and stems.
3. Cut a slice off the bottom of the turnip. This provides a flat bottom, so it will not roll away on you.
4. With a sharp knife, slice off the top of the turnip....the lid.
5. Carve out the center. This is hard to do. You can use a variety of tools, a small paring knife works best.
6. Use a small knife to cut a face in the turnip.
7. Light the turnip with a small tealight candle.
8. You can leave the top off, out put it on. If you put it on when the candle is lit, the lid will begin to cook...literally.
Now, put the carved turnip out on your doorstep, or in a window to keep all those nasty evil spirits away from your home!