National Pumpkin Day recognizes a favored autumn decoration and food on October 26th. Not only do they make great fall decorations, but the pumpkin also completes a variety of tasty recipes. Join a pumpkin competition or visit the many fall festivals featuring beautiful gourds
By October 26th, we’re in a frenzy of pumpkin obsession. We cannot wait for the big November holiday for pumpkin pie. No, siree, we need pumpkin everything! Bars, cookies, coffee, cheesecake, pasta, and oatmeal. Pumpkin Chunkin’, pumpkin patches, festivals, bake-offs, and television specials. Let’s not forget jack-o-lantern carving, too! This fruit grabs Americans’ attention. As it should! This squash is native to North America. The oldest evidence of pumpkin-related seeds dates back somewhere between 7000 and 5500 BC to seeds found in Mexico. The word pumpkin originates from pepon, which means “large melon” in Greek. Within recent years, white pumpkins have become more popular in the United States. The United States produces 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins, with Illinois producing more than any other state.
In 2021, Italian Stefano Cutrupi claimed the world’s largest pumpkin title when his gargantuan gourd weighed in at 2703 pounds (1,226 kg). That’s 300 pounds heavier than the 2014 winner from Switzerland. In 2020, Travis Gienger grew the largest pumpkin in North America. The hefty vegetable weighed in at 2,350 pounds. It eeked out the previous winner, a 2,145-pound pumpkin from Streator, Illinois, grown by Gene McMullen.
Pumpkins are packed with nutrients, but they’re not only good for humans. Did you know veterinarians may recommend pumpkins as a dietary supplement for dogs and cats? Since pumpkin is easy to digest, if your pet is experiencing certain digestive ailments, don’t be surprised if your vet says to give them pumpkin puree. Poultry also benefits from eating raw pumpkins to supplement their regular feed during winter to help maintain egg production. It is a seasonal food that comes at the right time of year. Since it’s packed with vitamin C, it can also boost your immune system to fight off those nasty colds.
National Pumpkin Day History
National Day Calendar® continues researching the origins of this garden squash-related holiday.
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Q. Who carved the first jack-o-lantern?
The tradition of carving vegetables for Halloween has its beginning in Ireland. There, they carved turnips to ward off the devil and evil spirits during the ancient Samhain festival and Halloween. Irish who immigrated to the Americas brought the tradition with them and found the pumpkin suitable for carving. However, carving pumpkins in Ireland has become a more modern practice.