The Annual Candlelight Evenings Wrap Up 2018

It was wonderful to see so many old friends and new faces at our Candlelight Evenings on December 1st and 8th! The museum was beautiful with its holiday decorations of fresh greenery and real candlelight, and listening to Linda Russell’s music in a warm tavern on a cold night was a wonderful way to usher in the holiday season.

A special thank-you to all of our volunteers and staff who help make this event an annual favorite! And thank you to everyone who came out to enjoy the holidays, 19th Century Style! Please enjoy one of our favorite Christmas songs, as performed by Linda Russell!

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The Spirits of Rahway – Lantern Lit Tour 2018

The Annual Lantern Lit Tour was a spooky success – despite the weather having other ideas.

We’d like to thank all of our guests for the Lantern Lit Cemetery Tours for coming and hearing our tales, and to all of the volunteers who helped bring the whole event together.

Here are some pictures of the Lantern Lit tour that we took – but if you visit our Facebook page, you can see all the pictures that our guests have shared!  Maybe YOU have a picture to share as well?  We’d love to see them!

And save the dates for next year’s tour – October 25 & 26th, 2019!

Hope to see you at our next event – the Candlelight Evenings!

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Kid History – The Legend of Stingy Jack

Why do we carve pumpkins into Jack O’Lanterns during Halloween?

Did you know that if we were in the olden days, we’d be carving TURNIPS instead of PUMPKINS?!

In fact, over 700 years ago, the Maori people of New Zealand carved gourds into lanterns!  But why do we make Jack O’Lanterns at Halloween?

Well, the Irish legend goes that a man named Stingy Jack tried to trick the devil – some say he tricked the Devil into climbing an apple tree, then carved a cross in the trunk to trap him there – some say he convinced the Devil to turn into a coin to pay some villagers to steal their souls, only to find himself trapped by a cross in Stingy Jack’s wallet!  In either case, Jack would only free the Devil if he agreed to never take Jack’s soul, and so he did.

Unfortunately, when Stingy Jack finally died, he was not permitted into heaven – and of course the Devil wouldn’t take him! So he was forced to roam the earth, with only a carved turnip lantern to find his way, lit by an ember from Hades, now forever known as Jack of the Lantern, or, Jack O’Lantern.

Some people think that the carved turnips are to ward off evil spirits, and some believe they represent the souls of those who passed.  Some even believe they are used to frighten children on Halloween!

But why do we carve pumpkins instead of turnips?

Well, carving pumpkins is A LOT easier than carving turnips! As the Europeans immigrated to America, they discovered that pumpkins, which are native to America, were larger and MUCH easier to carve, and began to carve pumpkins instead of turnips. And so the “modern” Jack O’Lantern was born!

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