Apple Seeds—If APPLE PARING—or using the skin of an apple — is a popular Halloween FORTUNE-TELLING method, the use of the seeds within the apple is no less popular, and shows an even greater number of different customs.
In the simplest method, by cutting an apple in two, the seeds were read on Halloween to foretell the future: Two seeds showing predicted an early marriage, three predicted wealth (or sometimes a legacy), four foretold travel (or great wealth), five brought health (or a sea voyage), six showed wisdom (or great fame as an orator or singer), and seven a promise of fame (or the possession of a desired gift).
In another fortune-telling custom, two wet apple seeds were named for suitors and stuck to the forehead (or cheeks, or eyelids). The first seed to fall off indicated that the love of him or her whose name it bore was not steadfast. In Nottinghamshire, this tradition was practiced with these lines spoken:
“Pippin, pippin, I stick thee there,
That that is true thou mayst declare.”
Apple seeds applied in this matter might also be used to foretell poverty or wealth. In a variation, the seeds were named for “Home” or “Travel.”
Apple seeds were also sometimes placed on the hearth instead of NUTS; a group were named for a girl’s suitors and placed on the fire. The first pip to pop indicated her true love. In another version, THREE apple seeds were placed on a hot stove, and named for Toil, Ease and Travel; once the heat caused the seeds to jump, whichever was left closest to you foretold your future.
In one curious method, 10 to 12 apple seeds were placed in one palm, then the hands were clapped together; the number of apple seeds left would foretell the future, according to a spoken rhyme. In a variation, all the seeds from a single apple were placed on the back of the left hand, the palm of which was then struck by the right. The number of seeds remaining indicated the number of letters that would then be received over the next two weeks.
In another divination, 12 apple seeds were set aside while the names of 12 friends were written on twelve identical small slips of paper. The papers were then placed with the written side down, and mixed around. Then, while holding the apple seeds in the left hand, the following rhyme was recited, and at each line an apple seed was placed on a slip of paper, which was then turned over to reveal the friend matched to the line of the poem:
One I love,
Two I love,
Three I love I say;
Four I love with all my heart
Five I cast away.
Six he loves,
Seven she loves,
Eight they both love;
Nine he comes,
Ten he tarries,
Eleven he courts and
Twelve he marries.
The Halloween Encyclopedia Second Edition written by Lisa Morton © 2011 Lisa Morton. All rights reserved