OCT Exclusive Plant: 'Pumpkin' — 3 Fascinating Pumpkin Tales Beyond Halloween
Pumpkins are often linked to Halloween, but they boast a fascinating history, brimming with intriguing stories and uses. They've held various roles in various cultures, transitioning from magical legends to mysterious festival customs. Isn't it interesting how pumpkins can evoke such different images?
Join us on a journey through various cultures–diving into the wondrous uniqueness of pumpkins through three intriguing stories!
Cinderella’s Magical Pumpkin Carriage
This title surely rings a bell. Yes, pumpkins play an impressive and key role in the classic fairy tale Cinderella. [Click here] Let's take a look at this clip: When the Fairy Godmother kindly comforted Cinderella and said:
Let’s see… Umm. I’d say the first thing you need is a pumpkin!
Her first magic spell, cast with a wave of her wand, transforms the large pumpkin from the garden into a beautiful and elegant carriage.
Interestingly, if it weren't for its role in "Cinderella," the pumpkin might not have the name "Pumpkin." This famous fairytale has many versions, with the most well-known one written by the French author Charles Perrault in 1697.. He introduced various elements like the Fairy Godmother and the glass slipper, and it was also the first Cinderella story to feature a pumpkin carriage.
Perrault chose the pumpkin because it was a common vegetable in France at the time. The name "pumpkin" originates from the Greek word "Pepõn," meaning large melon. When the pumpkin was introduced to France in the 17th century, its name evolved into "pompo" due to language changes. As the "Cinderella" story gained popularity, the English translation of "pompo" became "Pumpion," and over time, it transformed into the familiar term "Pumpkin" that we use today.
The Legend of Jack O'Lantern
Halloween lanterns, also known as Jack O'Lanterns, were initially made from turnips or potatoes, not pumpkins. But how did pumpkins take over as the Halloween symbol instead of these veggies?
This goes back to the origin of the Jack O'Lantern in Irish folklore. According to legend, a man called "Stingy Jack" deceived the devil and was punished after death by wandering in the dark underworld. Jack asked the devil to at least give him a light. The devil gave him a ball of hellfire so he hallowed out a fallen turnip, put the fire in it, and continued to wander. Jack's lantern became a symbol of the undead and is now known as "Jack O'Lantern."
Later, the Irish and Scots began to imitate the legend, hollowing out turnips, beets, potatoes, and other root vegetables, carving monster-like faces on the outer skin, and putting lighted candles as props to ward off evil spirits during Halloween.
When Europeans immigrated to the United States in the 1840s, they discovered a better material—pumpkins. Pumpkins are full of nutrients and have edible parts like flowers and seeds, making them a common crop. They're easy to find and carve, so they became the top choice for lanterns. When the tradition returned to Europe, pumpkin lanterns became popular, but some places still use turnips.
The Headless Horseman
In Washington Irving's eerie tale, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," we encounter another peculiar pumpkin story. Set in a secluded mountain village inhabited by superstitious villagers, the legend revolves around a headless horseman haunting Sleepy Hollow. The story goes that this knight lost his head in battle, and now he roams in search of it in the dark. Quite the spooky legend, isn't it?
Adding to the intrigue, there was an arrogant teacher in the village who had set his sights on the daughter of a wealthy landowner due to her fortune. One fateful night, he attended a party hosted by the landowner's daughter and on his way back, he found himself pursued by the infamous "Headless Horseman." Terrified of the ghostly figure, the teacher lost his wits, and in a chilling climax, the headless horseman threw a "head" at him from his chest. The teacher fainted, and the headless horseman vanished into the night.
The following day, the teacher was nowhere to be found, and all that remained were his hat and a large pumpkin. Ultimately, the landlord's daughter married another young man, leading the villagers to speculate whether he had masqueraded as the Headless Horseman to scare off his romantic rival.
Considering the eerie atmosphere of Sleepy Hollow, it's not hard to imagine how, on a dark and windy night, a pumpkin could be mistaken for a head, adding to the mystery of this legendary tale.
While pumpkins are often round and orange, they come in various shapes and colors, such as the elongated "Butternut Squash," the dark green "Chestnut Pumpkin" with zebra-like stripes, or the petite "Mini Pumpkin" used for decorative purposes. Take a look at the picture to see how many different kinds of pumpkins you can find.
"Drink Water or Trick" Hydration Pals
As October rolls in, the excitement of Halloween draws near. Plant Nanny has just unveiled an adorable limited edition plant – the "Trick or Treat Pumpkin." This little plant buddy is here to remind you to stay hydrated while you enjoy those tasty beverages at your Halloween bash.
Begin your 7 or 14-day trial subscription before the month's end, and you'll instantly unlock this charming pumpkin companion. Trust me, you won't be able to resist its mix of fierceness and cuteness. It's like a tiny motivator, nudging you with a playful warning: “Stay hydrated or I'll play tricks” So go ahead, grab a glass of water, and keep the party going!