Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween

Image result for jack o lantern

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

BBC News posed a question: "How did (Brits) fall in love with pumpkins?" Their answer is found in a short video. You probably know that our tradition started across the pond with the carving of...turnips! Not by any means my favorite when I was a kid. 

Pumpkins crossed the pond and this BBC video has a few stats on Halloween in the UK.The announcer notes that Halloween is the "third most valuable" holiday of the year there. What a lovely description on the flow of money.

So just what is a punkin--vegetable or fruit? It all depends who you ask. If you ask a plant biologist, the answer is a fruit. If you ask a cook or your green grocer, it is a vegetable.

The law became engaged in this question in 1893 when a United States Supreme Court case, Nix v. Hedden ruled on whether the tomato was a fruit or vegetable. It had to do with how imported tomatoes were taxed. As a fruit, the tax was less. As a vegetable, the tax was more. In a unanimous decision, the court while acknowledging that tomatoes were fruits, decided that for purposes of tariffs, the tomato was a vegetable.

Halloween all began with the ancient Celtic festival of Samheim.

And here is a poem by Carl Sandburg about the yellow and orange balls of autumn that are turned into wonderful, sometimes scary and most often fanciful carvings.

Happy Halloween!

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