Pumpkin Facts: Why They Are Great Food And Great Protection
Let us tell you a few pumpkin facts, so you can learn all about this most versatile and healthful of fruits (yes, its a fruit; that's the first fact right there). Some of the facts about pumpkins made us sit up and take notice: its one of the hardiest and easiest grown fruits around; only one continent in the world, Antarctica, isn't able to cultivate them successfully. Like flowers, they're actually fertilized by honeybees, and its one of the few fruits out there that can re-grow roots or vines if its original roots or vines are damaged or cut away.
Howard Dill, a Nova Scotia native, broke the world record for the heaviest pumpkin ever weighed in 1981, when he brought one to his local fair that weighed nearly 500 pounds. The seeds of that giant phenomenon are still in use today; in fact, Dill made a mint (of money, that is) by patenting and selling his giant pumpkin seeds, and now every giant pumpkin on earth can trace itself to Dill's original plant.
If that isn't enough (were not even going into all the delicious recipes you can make with it), the pumpkin is a magnificent health food, rich in antioxidants and loaded with fiber, and eating roasted pumpkin seeds will give you protein, zinc, and all the vitamins of a glass of milk. Pumpkin seed oil is used as a home remedy for prostate ailments as well.
So why do we persist, in the face of all these facts, incarving them into scary faces? Well, thats because of all the pumpkin history out there.
The ancient Celts would carve the ignisfatuus (that's Latin for Jack O'Lantern) into a terrifying face to ward off the evil spirits; Christians continued the tradition to drive away the demons that roamed the misbegotten earth before All Saints Day (they'd use rutabagas or turnips if no pumpkins were available).
Also, as a root plant, both Celts and Christians regarded the pumpkin as magical, in the same category as Harry Potters mandrake root, and both mandrake and pumpkin were allegedly used to create spells to drive away evil (it was said that if a small pumpkin was soaked many days in the right sorcerers brew, it would grow into a homunculus, a man - child who would carry messages to your lover for you). The pumpkin seed and plant were supposedly descended from Adam's first garden, and were therefore proof against the powers of darkness.
So thats why you find this astounding fruit, with its fine and lasting health benefits and advantages, used instead to sit outside houses and ward off devils until All-Saints morn arrives. And thats why we carve scary faces any devil that saw the pumpkin would think, oops, this place is already occupied, and leave the house alone.
And since the pumpkin, a food that is most nutritious and beneficial for man, was thus considered a man himself, he was left a plate of food while guarding the house. Thus trick or treat was born.
Whether you consider the pumpkin a great food or a great protector, its always better to be armed with the pumpkin facts.