It is my suspicion that lanterns such as these were commonplace in the
past and we only have 'pumpkin lamps' at Halloween because we no
longer use them generally.
On 11/1/15, Michael <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Yesterday as I scooped out all the innards of the pumpkin trying to thin
> it down to the skin, I began wondering why I was doing it, when so many
> people these days just spend five minutes cutting a few holes.
> The first obvious thing was that I make pumpkin pie (or more accurately
> honey, apple and pumpkin pie)
> The second is that the innards are turned into green goo for dipping for
> coins (pumpkin innards, green children's paint and some flour with half
> a cup of 5p/1p & perhaps a few bigger ones).
> But the real intention was to make the skin of the pumpkin as
> translucent as possible so that the candle would show through (although
> these days with the super star-killing street lights, it's difficult to
> see the pumpkin - so hence three candles this year).
> And then it hit me, that in the not too distant past, when people could
> see the stars at night, but couldn't see their own feet for the dark. If
> people went around with young children, at the time of year when very
> young children start experiencing the winter dark during their waking
> hours, then they too would have needed light.
> So, perhaps they also carried around a light - and to avoid wind, the
> candle or oil-lamp would need to be in a protective enclosure - and what
> simpler way to make such a wind enclosure is by scooping out a
> "pumpkin". So perhaps the reason we have "pumpkin lights" is a direct
> descendant of the ordinary kinds of lights that ordinary people used -
> although obviously it would have been something like a neep (turnip).
> But of course, there would be absolutely no archaeological record of
> something as ephemeral as a "pumpkin light"
> ... or would there?