Bobbing for apples

Bobbing for apples

Bobbing for apples, also known as apple bobbing, is a game customarily played on Halloween. The game is played by filling a tub or a large basin with water and putting apples in the water. Because apples are less dense than water, they will float at the surface. Players (usually children) then try to catch one with their teeth. Use of hands is not allowed.

In Scotland this may be called "dooking," i.e. ducking.

In Ireland, mainly Co. Kerry it is known as "Snap Apple".

History

The custom originated during the Renaissance among the English as part of their celebrations with King Henry VIII. The original custom generally took place during large gatherings of people. Apples were associated with love or fertility; the first person to catch an apple would be the next one to marry, a tradition that is echoed in the modern "throwing of the bouquet" at weddings. The Romans were the first to perform the game during November in honour of Demeter.

The popularity of this game is falling, possibly because people may regard it as unsanitary.

References

* [http://wilstar.com/holidays/hallown.htm The history and customs of Halloween]
* [http://www.worldofhalloween.net/traditions-and-customs/bobbing-for-apples.html Halloween World: Apple Bobbing Halloween Tradition] accessed August 10 2007


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