There’s one thing that represents October more than anything else, and it’s not Halloween (though it’s involved). That thing? The pumpkin. It starts appearing on shelves and farmers market’s stands on the last week or two of September, and is the herald that lets you know that Pumpkin Pies, Jack-o-Lanterns, and all the joys of fall are just around the corner. Pumpkin Day celebrates these noble squash’s, and the history and tradition tied up in their iconic orangeness.
History of Pumpkin Day
Often when people think of Halloween, they think of Jack-o-Lanterns and pumpkins, and even when you’re looking at that ‘false medieval’ imagery that’s present in most fantasy games, you’ll regularly see pumpkins being present, especially during Halloween events. What many people don’t know is that the pumpkin is actually a plant from the new world, like all squash, so the image of pumpkin jack-o-lanterns in front of ancient medieval homes is just plain wrong. These are an all American (And South American) plant, and the jack-o-lantern at Halloween is a distinctly New World thing.
So let’s learn a little bit about the Pumpkin in honor of Pumpkin Day, starting with what the word pumpkin means. It’s pretty simple, as it comes from the Greek word pepon, or ‘Large Melon’, but it didn’t go straight to pumpkin. First it was pompon to the French, and then pumpion to the British. It was the Americans that finally changed the word to its present Pumpkin, and so it’s been ever since! Pumpkin Day is a great opportunity to add this delicious squash to your diet, whether in the form of a traditional pumpkin pie, or a rich and savory pumpkin soup.
How to celebrate Pumpkin Day
The first step to celebrating Pumpkin Day is simple, get out there and get yourself a bunch of pumpkins! Alright, maybe that’s a bit much, maybe instead you could just stop off at your favorite grocery store or restaurant and order yourself up a great big slice of pumpkin pie. Not in the mood for pie? Pumpkin Spice lattes are going to be hitting the shelves at your local coffee shops (Starbucks is particular fond of trotting them out this time of year). If you’re feeling really inventive, go back to square one and buy a bunch of pumpkins, roast them, and make yourself an all pumpkin meal! Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Cake, Pumpkin Muffins, and a warm cup of Pumpkin Spice Coffee for dessert!