“In old England, apples and nuts were seen as powerful prognosticators. Celtic folk used them in their Halloween divination games for centuries, and there were some Scottish, Irish and British men and women–people from the northern parts of England–still celebrating All Hallows with apples and nuts throughout the heyday of Guy Fawkes…The night of October 31 was known in parts of the British Isles ad “Snap Apple Night”…the name came from an old game played by tying the player’s hands behind his back and having him try to bite an apple suspended from a string…Like their English ancestors before them, Americans used apple dunking to find who will marry first. Whoever could snag an apple from a big bucket filled with water, hands tied behind the back, would be wed soonest.”
—Halloween: An American Holiday, an American History, Lesley Pratt Bannantyne [Pelican Publishing:Gretna LA] 1998 (p. 56)
“The Romans brought their own pagan mythology and celbration to Britain, including the November 1 harvest festival of Pomona, goddess of the orchards, and the masked revels of Saturnalia, the winter solstice. Pomona’s association with the apple no doubt fostered the fruit’s later prominence in Halloween games and festivities.”
—Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween, David J. Skal [Bloomsbury:New York] 2002 (p. 21-2)
Apples have always been popular tools for foretelling the future. There are a number of traditional methods in folklore for seeing who one’s lover might be.
Peel the apple, keeping the peel in one long piece. When the peel comes off, drop it on the floor. The letter it forms is the first initial of your true love’s name.
Wait until midnight and cut an apple into nine pieces. Take the pieces into a dark room with a mirror (either hanging on the wall or a hand-held one will do). At midnight, begin eating the pieces of apple while looking into the mirror. When you get to the ninth piece, throw it over your shoulder. The face of your lover should appear in the mirror.
If a girl has more than one potential lover, peel an apple and pull out the seeds. Place a wet seed on your cheek for each boyfriend. The last one left stuck to the skin represents the suitor who is the true love.