It’s that time of year again where the streets look like they’re covered in pencil shavings and everyone has a jack-o-lantern glow. That’s right, the times are changing as we wave good-bye to summer and give a big welcome to autumn.
The season officially begins on Sept. 22 when the fall equinox takes place. In other words, it’s the day when everything you eat, drink and smell must be pumpkin.
Traditions, like the pumpkin spice lattes, are everywhere you look when it comes to this marvelous time of year. These traditions include things such as apple picking, hay rides, football games, pumpkin cravings, and of course, the brisk, chilly weather.
Let’s break down some of these autumn traditions.
First up, the pumpkin spice latte. The signature drink made its debut in 2003 by Starbucks Coffee. According to Huffington Post writer Julie R. Thomson, this latte almost never made its way onto the menu. The pumpkin spice latte, which didn’t use real pumpkin until 2015, couldn’t hold up to other flavors such as chocolate caramel and cinnamon spice.
However, once it hit the market, after changing the flavors around a bit, it sold like hotcakes. Fourteen years later, and this latte has become synonymous with the fall season. As of 2016, Americans spend about $500 million on pumpkin related products.
The next tradition is one people of all ages love: carving pumpkins.
This story originates in Ireland with the tale of “Stingy Jack.” After a lifetime of tricking the Devil and a promise to never be put in Hell, Jack was not allowed into Heaven.
Upon his death, the Devil forced Jack to walk the night with only burning coal. Jack placed this coal into a hollowed out turnip which has been roaming the Earth ever since.
History.com explains, “The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.” The Irish and Scottish brought the tradition to America of placing carved turnips, potatoes, and pumpkins in their windows to ward off the evil spirit of “Stingy Jack.”
One of the newest, and definitely the most interesting, autumn traditions is that of the famous Science Channel show, “Pumpkin Chuckin.”
This three-day festival started out in 1986 in Bridgeville, Delaware. This event is the opportunity of the year for “backyard engineers” to defy the laws of pumpkin physics.
Punkinchuckin.com states the World Championship Punkin Chunkin event is a non-profit association that is run completely by volunteers. In 2016, the World Championship brought in 20,000 people and raised $100,000 in revenue. However, after all their earnings, the 2017 Championship has been canceled due to a lawsuit brought on by an employee that was injured.
After going through some of the most popular traditions of the autumn season, get ready to trade in your bathing suits for sweaters and football jerseys and welcome the season of change.
When you’re walking around campus, admiring all the beauty around you, remember these words by William Allen Ward: “Autumn is an artist who uses an oak leaf on which to paint a masterpiece.”