[Gatesedge] It's the Great Punkin Shoot - October 29 2011

Scott Mills b.scott.mills at gmail.com
Fri Oct 7 18:24:29 PDT 2011


*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 

To get here follow these directions to Wanderer's Rest. 
*RSVP* is not strictly necessary but is appreciated so we know 
approximately how many to plan for.
Guests are encouraged to*bring a Punkin themed food to share*.   Please 
don't bring Punkin beer.

6:30PM   Guests Arrive
7PM        Punkin Themed Potluck Dinner
8PM        Punkin Shooting
9PM        Punkin Themed Desserts

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