Sunday, February 14

Apples and Lovers

In the spirit of the day I thought it would be appropriate to look into some of the myths connecting the apple to beliefs about fertility, temptation and the human desire to find true love.   Although the shape and color of some apples could conjure up the image of a heart, the relationship between the apple and adoration runs much deeper.  The white flesh and deep red skin depicted in imagery surrounding the apple plays on the dichotomy of purity and temptation, innocence and lust.  Aside from these direct implications, different cultures have put emphasis on the apple's relationship to fertility or its ability to answer questions concerning one's future love.
In some cultures the apple can serve as a crystal ball, having the power to foretell the future of a person in search of love.   In Sicily, a young girl can tell her amorous fate by tossing an apple out of her window.  If the apple is picked up by a boy or young man she will be married within a year.  If a women encounters it, she will have to wait a year to try her luck again.  If, on the other hand, the apple finds it's way into the hands of a priest, the young girl will live her life a virgin.
Different parts of the apple are also believed to have their own prophetic powers.   In France, a person twirls an apple peel three times around their head before tossing it.  When the peel lands it will do so in the shape of the first letter of their true love's name.  In Belgium, apple seeds placed on a hot pan lid play the role of oracle.  Upon placing the seeds on the lid, a young women will ask a succession of questions such as, "Will I like him? Or, "Will my first child be a girl?"  For each question to which the answer is yes a seed will pop. 
Other myths endow the apple with the power to grant fertility.  In Montenegro, a newly married woman may throw an apple against the side of her husband's house to encourage the birth of many children.   In Kyrgyzstan, some believe that children are granted to infertile women if they roll around on the ground beneath an apple tree.
Lore relating the apple to good fortune in matters of love also made its way across the Atlantic.   A Kentucky mountain saying claims, "Eat a crab apple without frowning and you'll win the love of your dreams."  Or if that is not to your liking you might try this one: "If you can pull in apple apart with you bare hands, you can have any girl [boy] you want."
If you are away from the one you love, you could try sticking apple seeds to your forehead.  The number of seeds that stick when you remove your hand is the number of days until you will see your sweetheart again.
Some out there may think these myths sound foolish, but for the skeptics out there, don't knock it until you try it.  And, by all means, if it works, let me know!

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