A young woman ducking or bobbing for apples.
The Romantic Origin Story Behind Bobbing For Apples
By Jennifer Amos
While bobbing for apples is a popular activity during many autumn celebrations today, it has been around for several hundred years, starting in Britain as part of a courting ceremony that would reveal the romantic fate of those who participated. In one version, each prospective spouse was assigned an apple, and the person bobbing would try to lay claim to their mate by biting the apple assigned to their lover.
If the bobber successfully bit the apple on the first attempt, it was said that the fated couple was made for each other, and if the bobber completed the task on the second try, the potential mate would pursue the object of their desire — although destiny decreed the relationship wouldn't last long. However, if the bobber required three attempts, the pairing was ill-fated.
Another version had participants attempt to bite an apple before the others, meaning they would marry first, and it was believed that if one placed the bitten apple under their pillow, their future beloved would appear in their dream. Although the courting ceremony of apple bobbing grew less observed by the 1800s, the game was later revived by Celtic Americans honoring their immigrant ancestors.