Cuento anaranjado: tallando una calabaza de Hallowe’en… / Orange Story: carving a Jack-o’-Lantern…


Cuento anaranjado: tallando una calabaza de Hallowe’en…
Desde mi niñez me he sentido atraído por la calabaza de Hallowe’en.
Así pues…puedo ser un artista retratista que blande una navaja – o un puñal – y todo también trata del color naranja, eso de la paleta otoñal de hojas volteando: naranja, amarillo, y rojo. Son mis tres colores favoritos, en hecho, porque soy daltónico; pero puedo ver con exactitud este “trío” vívido.
Hallowe’en es una noche mágica, repleta de ideas y de sentimientos (alboroto, miedo, entusiasmo) de la emoción universal, y que creció concretamente de la festividad celta de Samhain (la palabra noviembre en gaélico irlandés.) También esta fecha del 31 de octubre acontece al borde de la transición en Canadá al tiempo de invierno; lo usual es que llega nuestra primera escarcha-“matanza”. ¡Y el acto de tallar una calabaza existe al centro de lo todo!

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Orange Story: carving a Jack-o’-Lantern…
Since childhood I have loved pumpkins – all of them: mini ones, oddly shaped ones, big overgrown ones. And, living in Ontario, we’ve got some of the best, for they’re native to the place, an Amerindian food staple, and a gift to our culture. To carve a pumpkin for Hallowe’en is to express – swiftly and simply – one’s innate artistry and specific personality. What’s not to love, therefore?
The origin of Jack-o’-Lantern carving is in Ireland, and the pre-Christian festival of Samhain.  Samhain (which is the Gaelic word for November) hinges on the end of the harvest / Celtic old year, and the beginning of Winter / Celtic new year.  For a few hours all Spirits, including our ancestors, may run free, back and forth between “this” world and the “other”).  In old Eire it was the dependable turnip that was hollowed out, and a candle placed within. Positioned at a cottage threshold, or upon a window ledge, the glowing turnip “face” would announce to roving Spirits – some of which might’ve meant harm – that this was a house protected and not to be tampered with. Sometimes coins were inserted as “lucky eyes”, in case any malevolent invisible-now-visible Beings of Samhain needed to steal something away: better they take two pieces of silver than to carry off a calf or sicken to death the smallest child.
Irish immigrants of the nineteenth century to the U.S.A. adapted the far-superior Native-American Pumpkin to their lucky “face” lantern, and gradually the secular Hallowe’en that we now know evolved. The Church too was involved: All Souls’ Day (November 1st) was, in fact, created specifically to counter-act the powerful “pagan” traditions associated with Samhain. And this was already happening in Europe and the British Isles before the Irish-American immigrant “wave” of a 150 years ago.
At any rate, carving a pumpkin is as much fun today as it was decades ago, when I was a kid!