It’s almost Halloween. There are jack o’ lanterns all over the neighborhood and the smell of pumpkin pie, fresh out of the oven, and soon to be trick-or-treaters at the doors. It’s October now; the official spooky season, along with pumpkin season. There are pumpkin spiced foods, pumpkin scented body care and candles, and pumpkin related events everywhere. Consequently, one may wonder, “when did America start their love of pumpkin”?
The history of pumpkins started in the 1500s, when French explorer, Jacques Cartier, explored the St. Lawrence region of Northern America. In his report of discoveries in America, “pompions” were included; the word “pompion” later evolved to the modern day “pumpkin”. Nowadays, pumpkins are a symbol of fall; people cook them, decorate them, and take pictures with them.
In the beginning of October, pumpkin patches start to open around the city and people not only visit to pick one out to take home, but also to make memories with their loved ones during autumn. 28 out of 30 high school students agree that they visit a pumpkin patch to take pictures with their friends in honor of autumn. Asal Nojoumian, a student from Tesoro High School explains why she loves going to pumpkin patches: “I just really like the vibe. My favorite part of it is that I can make a lot of goofy memories with my friends”. One of the most prominent pumpkin festivals in America is “The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival”, also known as the “Keene Pumpkin Festival”. This event is located in Downtown Laconia, New Hampshire and has been attracting over 40,000 people since 1991. There are many activities to enjoy, such as the 5k and 10k race, pumpkin bowling, and magic performances. However, the highlight of the Keene Pumpkin Festival is the 34-feet-tall jack-o’-lantern tower. In fact, visitors are able to contribute to the height of this tower by only paying a $10 fee so they can stack another jack-o’-lantern to the pile.
As fall begins, the aisles of grocery marts are covered with pumpkin- spiced food. Shaivi Shah, a student from Tesoro High School advises, “the way I know that it is autumn is by going to costco and seeing if they have pumpkin pies yet. If so, the season has started”. In different grocery stores, they sell various pumpkin spiced snacks such as Pumpkin Joe Joes from Trader Joe’s, Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts from Kellogg’s, Pumpkin Spice Blended Greek Yogurt from Chobani, and Pumpkin Spice Milanos from the Pepperidge Farm. Also, in cafes and bakeries, pumpkin flavored drinks and bread appear. For example, Starbucks only launches their Pumpkin Spiced lattes during fall, usually starting at the beginning of September. Furthermore, stores such as Bath and Body Works and Ulta release pumpkin scented perfume that give people the cozy feeling of fall.
It seems that the love of this autumn’s favorite vegetable has been around for quite some time. People have been keeping the tradition of pumpkins for thousands and thousands of years. So why don’t we go out and enjoy a bite of pumpkin spiced bread?
Soyeon(Saige) Park, Grade 10
Tesoro High School