"The rosy apple’s bobbing
Upon the mimic sea-
‘Tis tricksy and elusive, And glides away from me."
~ “A Hallowe’en Wish,” R.K. Munkittrick, 1900
Along with harvest time games of bobbing for apples, the apple was also prime love divination item in the Hallowe'en season. A pair of apple seeds named for two potential lovers could be stuck on the the brow or eyelids. The one that stayed fastened stuck would represent the true lover. Girls also would pare apples and throw the peels over their shoulders in the hope that the peels would land in the shape of their future husband’s initials. And for the very brave, if a girl sat before her mirror at midnight on Hallowe'en, combing her hair and eating an apple, she might see the face of her true love reflected in the glass! 🍎
This tartan, by designer Carol A.L. Martin, was inspired by her young apple tree's first yield of fruit.
During the Halloween season, many people remember playing the traditional game of Bobbing for Apples (also called Apple Ducking or Snap Apple). The game is played by filling a tub or a large basin with water and floating apples on top. Players then try to catch one with their teeth without using their hands.
Apple traditions date back to the Roman invasion of Britain, when Roman customs and beliefs about the apple as a symbol of fertility were merged with similar Celtic festivals and beliefs and became integrated into harvest festival games. Young unmarried people would 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 predicted to marry.
For more on other Halloween apple customs for romantic divination, click the apple tree.