In Ukraine, "No" Means a Pumpkin
Cheer up, Linus: if you lived in Ukraine, you'd be glad the Great Pumpkin never showed up.
That's because, according to NPR, for centuries women in the former Soviet republic have used pumpkins to send a not-so-subtle message to would-be fiancés: essentially, "no."
A man would visit the home of a woman he wanted to marry. If the woman said yes, the family would break out the vodka. If her answer was no, "the poor guy was silently handed a pumpkin" and turned away.
Really, it's this image of youthful romance being dashed without a word, only the hand-off of an unwieldy gourd, that makes the whole thing sort of priceless. No apologies, no awkward explanations: just take your pumpkin and go home.
The fact that Ukrainians chose such a bulky vegetable seems at once perfect and cruel. On the one hand, there's something inexplicably perfect about making a heavy, warty, orange squash a symbol of rejection. On the other, it's not exactly discreet. In fact, as a Ukrainian tour guide explained to NPR, men would only propose at night so they wouldn't have to be seen walking through the village hauling around a pumpkin.
At least if you got the brush-off with a head of garlic, you could put it in your pocket.