[Gatesedge] Its the Great Punkin Shoot

Eadric Anstapa eadric at scabrewer.com
Thu Oct 27 14:17:53 PDT 2005


It's the Great Punkin Shoot
Oct. 29, just after dark
Wanderer's Rest

When Linus and Charlie Brown sat in the pumpkin patch all night waiting for the "Great Pumpkin" to come bearing gifts they had it all wrong. The grimacing, ugly-faced Jack o' Lanterns are not something we should welcome but are instead something we should be prepared to defend ourselves against..

The tradition of carving Jack o' Lanterns goes back to ancient times when people believed evil spirits roamed the Earth and returned to their homes in winter. Irish legend tells of a rude, abrasive man named Jack who, upon his death, was not welcomed in Heaven or Hell. "Stingy Jack" had played tricks on the devil himself. Not even welcome in Purgatory, Jack was destined to haunt the Earthly world. He carried a lantern and came to represent souls trying to escape the forthcoming winter.

Pagans in northern Europe held an annual festival to celebrate the harvest and prepare for winter long before Christianity spread to Scotland and Ireland. On the eve of the new year, Celts tried to prevent wayward dead souls from returning to their homes by carving faces on potatoes, rutabagas and turnips, and displaying them around their doors and windows.

All-hallow, or All Holy Saints' Day, has been celebrated in much of Europe for twelve centuries. November 1st was designated to honor Saints and innocent youth, and welcome them back from their graves for visits with family. Offerings were made to their memories and to appease all souls that returned to visit. If not appeased, evil souls were thought to play tricks or wreak havoc. Because cake and sweets were plentiful in prosperous times, children went from house to house asking for treats and threatening the stingy with tricks. From old beliefs, the practices of Pagans and Christians in old Europe formed modern Halloween.

Irish immigrants in the New World carried on the tradition displaying carved Jack o' Lanterns on All Hallows' Eve. But, they carved faces on the gourds native to the land. Pumpkins were an important source of food and materials to the Native Americans and had helped the early colonists survive in the New World. Placing candles inside the gourds symbolized the fires that kept evil spirits away in old Europe.

At the end of Fall, the Halloween celebration represents the time when things die before life returns to the Earth to bloom in Spring. The Jack o' Lantern is associated with the dead who have returned to haunt the Earth through winter carrying lanterns. Local folklore often tells of dark figures holding lanterns along highways and railroads. In the legends, the source of the eerie light can never be found.  

Here in southern Ansteorra where I grew up we have our Ghostly Lantern in the form of Brit Bailey.  Cynthia and I had our wedding celebration at the Bar-X Ranch in Bailey's Prairie a mere arrow shot from Brit Bailey's grave.  Being a local boy, Brit Bailey and I are old friends and if he shows up I will be happy to share my jug with him.  

For the past number of years I nave not seen old Brit, but Stingy Jack has shown up at my house with his lanterns.  I am convinced he is trying to steal my jug before I can share it with Brit or my friends.    

You are all invited to Wanderer's Rest on Oct 29 to help me defend against Stingy Jack.  I am sure that with a few well placed arrow shots we can snuff out Jack's Lanterns and keep him at bay for another year.

Strictly mundane, bring your archery gear and we will start shooting as soon as it is dark.  We will enjoy a variety of Pumpkin themed foods as well.

To get here follow these directions to Wanderer's Rest.  http://gatesedge.ansteorra.org/files/gearchery.htm

RSVP is not strictly necessary but is appreciated so we know approximately how many to plan for.
If you wouldl ike to help with food please contact cynthia  as cymills at scabrewer.com

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