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A jack-o'-lantern (or jack o'lantern) is a carved pumpkin, turnip, or other root vegetable lantern, commonly associated with the Halloween holiday. Its name comes from the reported phenomenon of strange lights flickering over peat bogs, called will-o'-the-wisps or jack-o'-lanterns. The name is also tied to the Irish legend of Stingy Jack, a drunkard who bargains with Satan and is doomed to roam the Earth with only a hollowed turnip to light his way. Jack-o'-lanterns carved from pumpkins are a yearly Halloween tradition that came to the United States with Irish immigrants. In a jack-o'-lantern, the top of the pumpkin or turnip is cut off to form a lid, the inside flesh is scooped out, and an imageusually a scary or funny faceis carved out of the rind to expose the hollow interior. To create the lantern effect, a light source, traditionally a flame such as a candle or tealight, is placed within before the lid is closed. However, artificial jack-o'-lanterns with electric lights are also marketed. It is common to see jack-o'-lanterns used as external and internal decorations prior to and on Halloween. Etymology The term jack-o'-lantern was originally used to describe the visual phenomenon ignis fatuus (lit., 'foolish fire') known as a will-o'-the-wisp in English folklore. Used especially in East England, its earliest known use dates to the 1660s. The term 'will-o'-the-wisp' uses 'wisp' (a bundle of sticks or paper sometimes used as a torch) and the proper name 'Will': thus, 'Will-of-the-torch. ' The term jack o'lantern is of the same construction: 'Jack of [the] lantern. '= Origin =The carving of vegetables has been a common practice in many parts of the world.
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