By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
As Autumn approaches, it is that time of the year for the practice of another unusual sport, namely ‘apple bobbing’.
Also known as ‘apple dooking’ and ‘apple ducking’ the game dates back to the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD. Each year, young unmarried people would participate and the winner would be the next person allowed to marry.
The game, which is particularly popular with children, involves putting apples in a tub of water. As apples are less dense than water, they float to the surface and players try to catch one with their teeth. Use of arms is forbidden, and, in fact, players’ arms are tied behind their backs to avoid cheating!
A variation of the game is ‘apple on a string’ or ‘snap apple’ in which apples are hung from a ceiling and players jump up to take bites. The winner is the one who eats the whole apple first. To add difficulty and skill to the game, the apples may be spun.
‘Apple bobbing’ is popular in several countries around the world.
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘