The 14th Annual Heartland Forest Pumpkin Festival will be taking place on October 21st in Niagara Falls, and it will feature fun events and attractions for the entire family, including food trucks, children’s activities and rides, pumpkin carvings, and more. The admission is FREE and Heartland Forest is a beautiful natural sanctuary in the heart of Niagara Falls, so if you haven’t discovered it yet be sure to check it out. For more information click here, but in the meantime let’s look at some fun facts about pumpkins and why they have become such an iconic symbol of Autumn.
1. Pumpkins grow on every continent except for Antarctica, which is made up of barren tundra.
2. The vast majority of pumpkins in North America (around 80%) ripen only during the month of October, so it is no surprise that we associate pumpkins with this particular month.
3. Not all pumpkins are orange. In fact, there are 45 different varieties of pumpkins, and they can also be green, white, yellow, and red.
4. The tradition of carving pumpkins and lighting candles inside them is believed to originate in Ireland, where people would celebrate the Gaelic festival of Samhain by carving faces into turnips, beet and other root vegetables.
5. The name pumpkin comes from the French word pompon, which was adapted from "pepon”, the Greek word for "large melon."
6. Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine, and they flattened the strips of pumpkins and dried them and made mats.
As they grow all over the world, have medicinal and nutritional properties, and are steeped in many diverse traditions, it is no wonder that pumpkins continue to be such an iconic symbol of the harvest season and of Autumn in particular. For more information about the pumpkin harvest and pumpkin related events in Niagara, feel free to e-mail me at Barbara.Grumme@Century21.ca.