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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Do You Bob?

One of my all time favorite Halloween party games was bobbing for apples. Whether the apple was floating in a huge metal tub of ice cold water or hanging from a string dangling from the rafters of an old time worn barn this game always represented Halloween fun to me. I have often wondered where this humorous and sometimes frustrating game got its roots so I did some research and googled, here's what I found out......
Samhain, a precursor to our All Hallows' Eve or Halloween celebration, occurred at a time that was a magical for the Celts of Britain. This was a time when the veil separating the worlds of the living and dead was at its thinnest and a time when the distinction between past, present, and future became a blur. The earliest Halloween games were conceived as a way to take advantage of this belief and became ways of divining the future. When the Romans conquered Britain they brought with them the apple tree. The apple was representative of the goddess Pomona, the goddess of fruit trees. She was known for her great beauty and fertility. Romans, although conquerors, Romans were accepting of other cultures and soon accepted Celtic beliefs and the Samhain festival. The two were blended together and the apple became part of the harvest celebration that would become Halloween. Because Pomona was a fertility goddess and because the Celts believed that the pentagram was a fertility symbol and when an apple is sliced in half the seeds form a pentagram it is natural that they believed the apple could be used to determine marriages during this magical time of year. From this belief comes the game bobbing for apples. During the annual celebration young unmarried people try to bite into an apple floating in water or hanging from a string. The first person to bite into the apple would be the next one to marry.
While the apple may or may not have had any ability to predict the future it brought people together from distant farms and villages who may otherwise have never had contact with others outside their own families. Hence the tradition of "Bobbing for Apples"......gotta love tradition!
Happy Halloween Everyone!

1 comment:

Cat Nap Inn Primitives said...

thanks for the history lesson..I had no idea...have a good one.;)