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The Great Pumpkin

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Life + Learning

  • Pile of Pumpkins

Jennifer, Clemens Mill | October 1, 2019

Every year at around this time, I start to think of about Linus and Sally sitting in the pumpkin patch. The air is chilly, clouds are floating over in the shapes of ghosts, and they are waiting, for the Great Pumpkin to appear.

There is something timeless and magical about pumpkins. They have been around for centuries and made early appearances in literature including this recipe for “Pumpion Pie" from 1526. The word "pumpkin" comes from the Greek word "Pepen” which means  "large melon." "Pepon" became the French "Pompon," and then the English "Pumpion."

Shakespeare refers to a "Pumpion” in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and then later, the Americanized word “pumpkin," is referred to in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater and of course, Cinderella.

Part of the pumpkin’s charm comes from its many shapes and possibilities. Some are too big to carry, some fit in the palm of your hand. Some are gnarled with spots and warts, some smooth as glass. Each one seems to tell a story.

Pumpkin seeds are planted in the rich soil of gardens, soaking up the spring rains and hot summer sun, and in the Fall they are snapped off of their stems and taken to Fall Fairs in wheelbarrows, intent on winning blue ribbons. They are hollowed out and filled with soup, ale, or famously, candles, when on Hallowe’en night they become Jack O’ lanterns, based on an Irish folk tale.

Here are some other stories about pumpkins that you might enjoy.

Have a look at some of these amazing ideas for carving your pumpkin.

If you’d like to decorate a pumpkin without carving it, try some of these ideas.

Happy Hallowe’en everyone!