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It’s Punkie Night

Photo Source Pixabay

This Jack of trades used to be a turnip back in Ireland in the 19th Century, not a pumpkin, the Celtics would carve a face, often grotesque looking, place an ember from inside to ban away evil spirits from their front door.

Also in Somerset “Punkie Night” is a Hallows Eve tradition in England. Children would march around with Jack-O’-Lanterns and sing a song that goes like this:

It’s Punkie Night tonight
It’s Punkie Night tonight
Adam and Eve would not believe 
It’s Punkie Night tonight 
Give me a candle
Give me a light If you don’t
You’ll get a fright.
 — Copper and Sullivan

Will-O’-The-Wisp is the Jack-O’-Lantern they are apart of a folklore tale told in Ireland and England back in the 19th Century.

The light in the lanterns represents the Medieval Latin word ignis fatuus for “Foolish Fire.” The light would be seen in the distance and described as the ghostly wisp in the night.

Sometimes these wisps would lead lost souls in the night into marshes and they would drown.

We must have been fooled quickly back in the old days, believing every tale, but are some of these creepy tales true? Do ghosts indeed walk among us?

Many folklore stories followed, and the tradition to carve a pumpkin started in and around 1800 in Canada to 1900 in the USA. When a potato famine brought Irish settlers to North America and they passed down their many traditions.

A lit gourde was believed to be of better use for the tradition of Pagan Christian rituals, then a bonfire.

Some references and articles

“Punkie Night” Information Britian.

“What causes Will-O’-The-Wisps”, Emily Upton, Today I Found Out, April, 2013

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