An Irish tale tells us where the origins of
the name Jack o'lantern came from. There once was a man named Jack who liked to
play tricks on people. He lived a long, mischievous life.
One day he tricked
Satan into climbing a tree. Jack then carved the image of a Holy Cross in the
trunk of the tree. This trapped the Devil up the tree.
Jack made a deal with
the Devil that: he would let the Devil down the tree, if the Devil promised to
never tempt him again.
After Jack died, he was not permitted into Heaven
because of his evil ways. He was also denied access to Hell because he had
tricked the Devil. The devil gave him a single ember to light his way through
the freezing blackness. This flame was put inside a hollowed-out turnip to keep
As Jack walked his neverending journey as punishment for his
trickery, he carried a burning coal inside a turnip to help him see along the
roads everywhere he traveled. Soon he was known as "Jack of the
lantern" or Jack O'Lantern.
In Ireland, turnips were used as their Jack's
lanterns originally. However, immigrants to America, found pumpkins more
plentiful than turnips. The Jack-O-Lantern in America was a hollowed-out
pumpkin, lit with an ember.