What’s A Turnip Got to Do with Halloween? Or Rutabagas, Beets, and Gourds, for That Matter?

warty-pumpkins1
Photo credit: C. Bertelsen

Folklore or fakelore, the general consensus seems to be that the Irish who came to America brought their custom of carving turnips for All Hallows Eve. They must grow large turnips in the sod over there! Lacking a turnip, rutabagas, beets, or gourds would also do.

Delicious legend, that’s what started the practice of carving Jack O’Lanterns, an example of how cultural practices migrate and are modified depending upon local conditions. Here’s the Tale of Stingy Jack:

© 2013 C. Bertelsen

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for the confirmation, Tony!

    Like

  2. Tony Flanagan says:

    Ja, in Ireland we used to try to get a turnip nearly the size of a soccer ball. I am not sure in retrospect they were turnips. Possibly Sweedes? Yellow rather than white flesh. Purple skin on the top half. The flesh makes a horrid orange mush when stewed – as it often was. They were grown in summer and harvested from September onwards all through the winter, mainly as sheep food.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s