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The Origin of the Jack-O'-Lantern
The jack-o'-lantern is integral to Halloween. Halloween, which falls on October 31st each year, originated with the Celts of ancient England and Ireland. The celebration—then called Samhain—signaled the end of the harvest and the start of winter. On the eve of All Saints' Day, the Irish hollowed out pumpkins and placed a light in them to ward off the spirit of Stingy Jack.
The name "jack-o'-lantern" derives from the legend of Stingy Jack. Stingy Jack was a mean drunkard who played tricks on everyone: his family, his friends, his mother—even the Devil himself. Once, he tricked the Devil into climbing up an apple tree. When the Devil had ascended the tree, Jack hurriedly placed crosses around its trunk. The Devil was unable to get out of the tree. Stingy Jack made the Devil vow not to take his soul when he died. After the Devil consented to his wish, Jack removed the crosses and let the Devil down.
Years later, Jack died. At the gates of Heaven he was told that he had led a wicked and miserly life on Earth. He was rejected from Heaven and so went down to Hell. The Devil kept his promise and refused Jack entry. With nowhere to go, Jack could only wander alone in the dark void between Heaven and Hell. His sole light was from a candle he kept inside a pumpkin.
At Halloween, you will see many jack-o'-lanterns on doorsteps and in windows. Remember Stingy Jack and always exercise prudence when making contracts, especially with the Devil.
──by John J. Bucher
南瓜燈 (jack-o'-lantern) 的名稱由來是源自『小氣傑克』的傳說。小氣傑克是個自私刻薄又愛惡作劇的酒鬼，他的家人、朋友、母親、甚至是撒旦全都上過他的當。有一次，他騙撒旦爬上蘋果樹。當撒旦爬上了樹，傑克趕緊在樹幹周圍放滿十字架，撒旦便無法爬下樹。小氣傑克要撒旦發誓死後不得帶走他的靈魂。在撒旦同意之後，他才將十字架移走，讓撒旦爬下樹。