Meaning of Pumpkin – Dictionary of Symbols

The symbolism of the pumpkin has an ambivalence of meaning. On the one hand it is associated with distraction and stupidity, on the other hand it is associated with intelligence. The pumpkin’s gourd is commonly used as an ornament, in this perspective there are several symbols that in Eastern belief relate the pumpkin’s gourd to something useless, while its seeds are associated with wisdom.

Due to the immense quantity of seeds, or seeds seeds, the symbolism of the pumpkin is also related to fecundity and abundance. In northern regions of Laos, it was believed that people were born from pumpkins.

The pumpkin is also considered a symbol of regeneration and source of life. It is very common in the Orient to consume pumpkin seeds in rituals of spiritual renewal during the spring equinox.

Pumpkin is also very present in Halloween festivities.

Meaning of Pumpkin – Dictionary of Symbols


The pumpkin, in more recent times, has eventually become the main symbol of Halloween. On Halloween the gourds are used to decorate the festivities and even as a costume. From the pumpkin gourd, a lighted head is made with a candle inside.

The use of the pumpkin as a symbol of Halloween, the story goes, was completely incidental. Halloween is a festival of Celtic origin, and as such had its own rituals and symbolic elements, as well as legends and beliefs surrounding the festivities. One of these was the legend of Jack-o’-lantern, a cursed spirit who wandered the earth lost, not allowed to enter either heaven or hell, wandering through the dark nights illuminated only by a lantern made of a turnip with a burning coal.

With the immigration of the Irish to the United States, the Halloween party underwent adaptations and the turnip was replaced by the pumpkin, the most common vegetable at this time of year in the United States. Thus, the pumpkin came to be used and associated with Halloween, mainly for ornamentation, without any special symbolic meaning.

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