Oreo sleeping in my fruit basket....makes for a super cute centerpiece!
Pumpkins come once a year to Pucallpa in the month of October. All the missionaries here keep a look out for when they are finally spotted in the grocery stores – a glorious display of the round, orange, fall-reminiscing gourds! As soon as they are spotted, the word gets around quickly via word of mouth, Facebook, etc. Then we promptly all run to the stores to make sure we each get at least one!
I was lucky enough to get 2 pumpkins this year and was very much looking forward to cooking those glorious gourds, pureeing them, and freezing them to then be able to use them throughout the year until they arrive again next year. But even the action of placing them in my shopping cart started triggering the reactions/responses of my Peruvian neighbors and their views of pumpkins. I have learned quite a bit over these 2 years about some of the different cultural views of pumpkins…
Pumpkins arrive in October, during harvest time, but also during the time leading up to Halloween. Many have seen picture of jack-o-lanterns as well and obviously associate them with Halloween. Because of the rooted, religious belief that Halloween is a satanic holiday, Christians here do not participate in absolutely anything that has any small semblance related to Halloween. And since pumpkins are not grown here, only arrive here in October, and are used in jack-o-lanterns, they associate pumpkins with Halloween and therefore do not buy them, or possible even go near them.
When I, as a missionary, purchased pumpkins, it caused a lot of questions among my neighbors and coworkers. The Lord has provided some awesome conversations as they build up the courage to ask me why I purchased pumpkins and I’ve been able to share the truth that they are just food and that harvest is the time of the pumpkins which is why they show up now. It has helped a lot that I then make pumpkin cookies and share them to allow them to experience the awesomeness of pumpkin flavored things! But it has been very educational for me as well learning their view and the cultural beliefs. I was even asked once if Halloween was scheduled specifically to correspond with the time of pumpkins…I obviously replied that, no they were not, but it definitely has given me an insight into the perspectives here….