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A pumpkin carving contest that took place 30 feet underwater

2 years 6 months 2 weeks ago Monday, November 01 2021 Nov 1, 2021 November 01, 2021 6:20 AM November 01, 2021 in News
Source: MDMH Coral Springs

KEY LARGO, Florida - Over the weekend in Florida, underwater diving met the craft of transforming a large, savory fruit into art during Sunday's underwater pumpkin carving competition.

The odd, Aquatic-Halloween themed contest garnered international attention as dozens of divers in Key Largo plunged to a location 30 feet underwater and competed while curious marine life swam by. 

According to a local news outlet, the annual event took place at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary near a shallow coral reef about five miles off Key Largo.

The participating divers used dive knives and fine carving tools to transform pumpkin into jack-o-lanterns that featured octopus, airplane, jellyfish, hearts, and sharks. 

The winner, a resident of Chicago named Dan Eidsmoe, carved a jack-o-lantern featuring a shark and a strobe light.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the origin of the jack-o'-lantern finds its root in an Irish myth about a fictional character called 'Stingy Jack,' who tricked the Devil for his own monetary gain. 

The tale concludes with Jack's death and God's denying the stingy man into heaven while the Devil, likewise, refused to let him into hell. According to the myth, Jack was left to roam the earth for eternity.

As a result of the popular myth, people in Ireland took to carving demonic faces out of turnips in hopes of scaring away Jack’s wandering soul. Irish immigrants eventually brought the tradition to the United States.

Jack-o’-lanterns gradually become associated with Halloween, which is based on the ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival Samhain, a pagan celebration in ancient Britain and Ireland that marked the end of summer and the beginning of the new year on November 1. 

It was believed that during Samhain the souls of those who had died that year traveled to the otherworld and that other souls would return to visit their homes.

In the 8th century CE, the Roman Catholic Church moved All Saints’ Day, a day celebrating the church’s saints, to November 1, which meant All Hallows’ Eve (or Halloween) fell on October 31. 

Though labeled with a new name, traditions taken from Samhain continue to appear in Halloween celebrations, such as wearing disguises to hide from dead souls that are supposedly wandering near one's home. 

As the celebrations meshed and various cultures contributed to what would become modern-day Halloween traditions, the tale of Stingy Jack was easily incorporated into the holiday.

As a result, U.S. observances have included jack-o-lanterns ever since.

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