Thursday, 31 October 2013

Hallowtide Apples

I had to mark Hallowe'en itself with something following on from Olivia Keirnan's fascinating post last week. I loved how these are living traditions in Ireland. 

Mine is more historical - but it still features apples. Perhaps it's something to do with Eve, but they do reoccur in ways of divining your future in love in many parts of the British Isles.

Lots of Hallowe'en traditions were social. One involved all the unmarried young people tying their apple onto a string and twirling it close to the fire. The quicker the apple came off the string, the sooner you would be married. Pity the poor girl whose apple stayed on till last.

A girl with several suitors might name an apple pip for each one and then put them on her cheek. They would fall off as they dried and the last one left would be for the faithful lover. You could do a similar rite with the pips on the fire grate saying this spell:
If you love me, bounce and fly,
If you hate me, lie and die .
 In Sussex where I live now, it was the other way round: a burst pip meant marrying that person would be a disaster.

A solitary way of finding your true love's name was for the brave, I think. You stood alone in your room at midnight and peeled an apple by the light of one candle. You had to stand  in front of a mirror without looking round.  You made the longest peel that you could so the marriage would last - and then threw the peel over your shoulder. Some traditions say it would spell out your true love's initials - others that their spirit would appear.

In Cornwall it was known as Allantide - and children were given Allan apples for luck. A girl might put one under her pillow to see if she would dream of her future husband.

A young man would need a lot of apples pips for this last one - or ashes from the Halloween Bonfire. He would find a path often used by girls he liked and lay a trail. The first girl to follow it would be his sweetheart.

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