Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Lost Halloween Rituals...Romance!
Will I see my true love's face?
One of my favorite places to visit in the Las Vegas area is the Clark County Museum in Henderson. Located on the old Boulder Highway, it's not too far from our condo. The museum's curator, Mark Hall-Patton is often seen on the reality television show "Pawn Stars." I love this museum...they have created a street of heritage houses...each from a different decade and featuring different aspects of Nevada and Las Vegas history. I will do another post sometime on those houses. Each is fully furnished for the time period and often by the original owner's possessions! There is even a historic Vegas wedding chapel! This morning I received their email newsletter and found an article called "Halloween Rituals to Find a Husband." This was an aspect of Halloween I knew very little about.
Does it count if you stand in front of your true love's picture?
The author asks "But what about the Halloween traditions and beliefs that today's trick-or-treaters have forgotten all about?" A lot of traditions were focused on the future and the living...instead of the dead. One of the reasons that "fortune telling" was so popular at parties. Many of the rituals had to do with helping a young woman identify her future husband...giving her hope that someday...by next Halloween perhaps...she would be happily married. For example, in 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might hide a ring in the mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping that whoever found it might also find true love.
In Scotland, a fortune teller might instruct a young woman to name a hazelnut for each of her suitors, then toss the nuts into the fire. If the nut popped or exploded...he was not the one for her. But the one that burned steadily to ashes would be the future husband...the one whose love burns true and steady, I suppose. In some versions...the opposite was true. Another legend says that if a young woman eats a sugary concoction of walnuts, hazelnuts and nutmeg on Halloween night, she will dream of her future husband.
Apple Peel Test....
Apples appear a lot in old Halloween traditions and rituals. In Christianity, apples are portrayed as the symbol of sex in the Garden of Eden. Young women tossed apple peels over their shoulders, hoping the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands initials.
Apple bobbing is a very old Halloween tradition...but one we still follow. Boys and girls duck inside the tub to catch the apple as it floats away from them. It takes a certain amount of skill to get a grip on the apple...whether with your teeth or by suction. At many parties, the first successful apple bobber would be the first down the aisle.
The Apple and the Candle...
An old custom the was meant to be fun...but was kind of dangerous...involved hanging a stick from the ceiling. On one end of the stick was an apple...while on the other a lighted candle. The stick was twirled rapidly and let go to unwind. With one's hands tied behind their back, the object was to try to bite the apple without getting burned. Most of the time the participants went home with scorched and blackened faces. This was considered hilarious!
Another apple ritual or "spell" says that the girl should cut an apple into two pieces in such a way the the seed part resembles a pentacle. She would throw one of the pieces over her left shoulder, walk backwards towards the mirror without looking back, while she eats the rest of the apple with one hand, and combing her hair with the other before the mirror. Then she should look back to see the face of her future spouse.
The Candle and the Mirror...
There seemed to be a lot of variations of the "see my love's face in the mirror" ritual. The young lady stands in front of a mirror in a darkened room on Halloween, holding a candle. When she peers over her shoulder, she should see the face of her true love.
Candle Twirling Test...
I hadn't come across any info on this particular test of love...but apparently if the twisted candle stays lit, Girlie, you will be! Whatever that means...lol! I had a lot of fun learning about some old Halloween traditions that have passed into oblivion. Thanks to the Clark County Museum for the interesting topic! It might be fun to experiment with a couple of these...but maybe not the "apple and candle" test...yikes!