Some are doomed to roam the earth before they find a soul mate with an ideal form, and the following story is all about this. We know that the origins of “All Hallows’ Eve” are to be found in the Celtic pagan tradition: it was believed that on that particular night the souls of the dead were given special permission to re-enter the world of the living which was off-limits to them during the rest of the year.
Later came the legend of Stingy Jack, the cunning drunkard who not only bargained with the Devil, but actually managed to trick him. Having made a mockery of both good and evil, neither Heaven nor Hell would ultimately grant Jack entry. That’s why, in order to ward off his restless soul, the Irish would scoop out turnips and carve scary faces out of the rind to expose the hollow interior. But there’s no getting blood (or lore) out of a turnip…
Many centuries later, when the Irish immigrated to America they found there a local gourd, the pumpkin, which was chubbier and far more appealing in form than the unassuming European root vegetable. Jack’s ghost had finally found its soul mate: the coupling of Jack and the pumpkin was a mystical marriage because, as we all know, Jack-o’-lantern became the quintessential symbol of Halloween.
It may take clever brains to find an ideal form but this tale about a hollow head teaches that one should never underestimate chance encounters either – especially when the luck of the Irish is involved. And the art of marketing will certainly take its hat (or paddy cap) off to such profound wisdom.