[Gatesedge] It's the Great Punkin Shoot - October 29 2011
b.scott.mills at gmail.com
Fri Oct 7 18:24:29 PDT 2011
THE GREAT PUNKIN SHOOT
*It's the Great Punkin Shoot*
Oct. 29, just after dark
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
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
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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