Bobbing for Apples

The Romans introduced apples to Britain when they conquered it and brought apple trees. The goddess of fruit trees, Pomona, was represented by the apple. The Romans accepted many Celtic beliefs, including Samhain. The Celts, who believed a pentagram to be a symbol of fertility and saw that an apple sliced in half formed a pentagram, came to accept Roman believes about the apple as a symbol of fertility.

During Samhain, they came to believe that the apple could be used to determine marriages. Unmarried men and women would attempt to take a bite from an apple in water or on a string. The first to bite into an apple would be the next person to marry. This tradition is replicated by the modern tradition of the bouquet toss at weddings. Once you caught an apple, you were to peel it counterclockwise and throw the peel over your should. The shape of the peel on the ground would give you the initial of your marriage partner.

We’re not sure that this works. But many of the games played around Samhain (and Halloween) involved traditions (or superstitions) about discovering one’s love interest. the games brought together people from different farms and villages, becoming an important avenue to meet potential mates. It occured during a celebrity time as the fall bounty had been collected and people had much to celebrate. And we’re sure that it probably brought more than one couple together.

The game is played by filling a basin with water and apples. The apples will float to the surface because they are less dense than water. Individuals then use their teeth (no hands!) to bite into an apple and lift it out of the water.

Bobbing for Apples

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