Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy All Hallows' Eve!

Halloween is almost here!  I love Halloween and all the traditions that go along with it: pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, costumes, haunted houses, ghost stories, bonfires, and delicious treats.  However, I often forget that historically our colonial ancestors did not celebrate Halloween--nearly all of our modern customs would have been foreign to them except for the display of a colorful bounty of pumpkins. Colonial Americans, introduced to the pumpkin by natives of the New World, consumed the fruit at a far higher rate than most of us do today--pumpkins were a valuable source of food that aided survival during the harsh winters and were prepared in soups, pies, puddings, and as a savory roasted dish by itself. I like to have a variety of pumpkins during the autumn months to enjoy not only for their natural beauty and sweet taste, but to remind myself of how integral the crop was to the early American home.

Of course, I can't help but carving at least one pumpkin each year:

If you would like to learn more about the origins of Halloween and the role pumpkins played in the domestic lives of early Americans, visit http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Autumn09/pumpkins.cfm  for a good article on the subject. 


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