Long ago, people could be quite superstitious and held their customs and beliefs in very high regard. However, because there wasn’t much opportunity to interact with the opposite sex, many of these superstitions focused on finding love and getting married.
Hey, it was a different time!
A surprising amount of these traditions are associated with Halloween. Here are just a few of them…
- Scottish girls believed they could see images of their future husband if they hung wet sheets in front of the fire on Halloween.
- Other girls believed they would see their boyfriend’s face if they looked into mirrors while walking downstairs at midnight on Halloween.
- In 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it.
- In Scotland, fortune-tellers recommended that an eligible young woman name a hazelnut for each of her suitors and then toss the nuts into the fireplace. The nut that burned to ashes, rather than popping or exploding, represented the girl’s future husband. (In some versions of this legend, the opposite was true: The nut that burned away symbolized a love that would not last.)
- Another tale had it that if a young woman ate a sugary concoction made out of walnuts, hazelnuts and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night she would dream about her future husband.
- Young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands’ initials or tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water.
- At some Halloween parties, the first guest to find a burr on a chestnut-hunt would be the first to marry; at others, the first successful apple-bobber would be the first down the aisle.
Easy to scoff at these beliefs now perhaps. Then again, who doesn’t love being the one to find the ring in the barm brack? And we all know what that means…