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Bobbing For Apples
Front Page Photo by Elizabeth Flom


November 03, 2005

Bobbing for apples is one of the many games customarily played on Halloween - and was one of the activities at the Ketchikan Elks Lodge's Halloween party Saturday. As most are familiar, the game is played by filling a tub with water and putting apples in the water. Apples are less dense than water and will float at the surface. Players (usually children today) then "bob" or "duck" for the apples and try to catch an apple with their teeth. Use of the hands is not allowed.

jpg Bobbing for Apples

Bobbing for apples was one of the games at the
Ketchikan Elks Lodge's Halloween party Saturday...
Photo by Elizabeth Flom

The custom originated among members of a European people (the Celts) who occupied Britain, Spain and Gaul in pre-Roman times. The ancient Celts bobbed for apples as part of their celebrations of the Samhain season (the winter season of the ancient Celts) which grew into our modern Halloween.

The original custom of apple bobbing by the ancient Celts generally took place during large gatherings of people. Apples, which were associated with love, were placed either in a tub of water or suspended from a string, and unmarried attendees would attempt to catch the apple in their mouths. According to tradition, the first person to catch the apple would be the next one to marry - a tradition that echoes the modern "throwing of the bouquet" at weddings today.




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Ketchikan, Alaska