New York: October 26 is celebrated as National Pumpkin Day because the gourd vegetables are the harbinger of the harvest season, appearing every year as the first sign of autumn.
While the origins of National Pumpkin Day are unknown, it is no wonder that there would be a day to celebrate this North American squash.
Nowadays, pumpkins are instantly associated with Halloween. The tradition of carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns came to the United States via Scottish ad Irish immigrants in the 1800s. Now, it is a popular and beloved family activity.
Pumpkins are a member of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons, and zucchini. Most people don’t realize they are fruits — not vegetables. These plants are native to Central America and Mexico, but now grow on six continents. Their history in North America goes back 5,000 years.
Pumpkins are indigenous to the Western Hemisphere. As Frenchman Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence region of North America in the 1500s, he reported finding what the French called “gros melons.” The name was translated into English as “pompions,” which has since evolved into the modern “pumpkin.”
Native Americans used to grow this squash alongside river banks with beans and sunflowers before maize was developed as a crop. After maize became a crop, the Native Americans then used a system of growing pumpkins with maize and beans called the “Three Sisters Method.”
Whether you’re enjoying your favourite pumpkin-infused dish, or participating in a pumpkin carving competition, be sure to hashtag and share your pumpkins on social media! You could get your audience involved by voting on the best pumpkin, or running some kind of competition!