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Ok, I got going through some OLD Halloween cards, and have stumbled on what must have been a symbol for the holiday at one time. Thistle.

What's up? Anyone know?



it keeps cropping up, especially in cards printed in Germany between 1880 and 1920. Also, anyone know what this pumpkin man is doing with the (looks more turnip) jack o lantern in the oven thing?




And here's another flower around the oven thing I can't identify.

 

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^I'd agree with that. I think that flower on the third card is heather - if it was yellow it would be gorse? The writing on the first card is definitely a Scottish pronunciation.

Don't know what the significance of the ball of string is though.
 

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^I'd agree with that. I think that flower on the third card is heather - if it was yellow it would be gorse? The writing on the first card is definitely a Scottish pronunciation.

Don't know what the significance of the ball of string is though.
I believe there is thistle on the third card at the pumpkin guy's feet but yes, the flower on top looks like heather
 

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Are you on Facebook? I admin for a great discussion group, Halloween Antiques, that's home to hundreds of high-level collectors of antique Halloween (and many of them postcard collectors) If you are, I'd totally suggest posting this there as I'm sure someone has some insight. If not, I could post for you and let you know what responses I get!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
My thought is that while the cards were printed in Germany, Halloween is rooted in Celtic lore. The plaid border on the cards and even the thistle (national flower of Scotland) shown indicate that the card's design may have originated in Scotland or been drawn up by a Scottish artist. The thistle itself has a lot of significance in Celtic magic lore. Found this while doing a search.

https://www.buildingbeautifulsouls.com/symbols-meanings/flower-meanings-symbolism/thistle-meaning-symbolism/
Yes, I wasn't suggesting they were meant for a German population, though there is a record of Bismark having Halloween parties during the era, and Thistle is tied to some German fall festivals as well, especially in the south. I've verified the artist is German on many of them, however, and it really appears to be some misunderstanding of things on his part mixed in.

So, I found an old book referencing the blue yarn thing in the library, though the pumpkin man above is doing it wrong.

It sounds like something of an 1800s bloody mary dare type game. You'd dare someone to take the ball of yarn and toss it into the lime kiln. Holding onto the other end you'd go hide. (no jack o lantern involved ,and the pumpkin man is holding the ball, not the other end) Then you'd feel a tug on the string and call out "who holds?" Supposedly you'd hear the name of your future bride/groom. Though, there's supposedly a chance the devil may also be holding the other end and try to trap you. Realistically it was likely whoever did the daring messing with the target.
 

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I'm glad you figured out the string thing, that was sorta making me crazy trying to figure that one out.
 

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Yes, I wasn't suggesting they were meant for a German population, though there is a record of Bismark having Halloween parties during the era, and Thistle is tied to some German fall festivals as well, especially in the south. I've verified the artist is German on many of them, however, and it really appears to be some misunderstanding of things on his part mixed in.

So, I found an old book referencing the blue yarn thing in the library, though the pumpkin man above is doing it wrong.

It sounds like something of an 1800s bloody mary dare type game. You'd dare someone to take the ball of yarn and toss it into the lime kiln. Holding onto the other end you'd go hide. (no jack o lantern involved ,and the pumpkin man is holding the ball, not the other end) Then you'd feel a tug on the string and call out "who holds?" Supposedly you'd hear the name of your future bride/groom. Though, there's supposedly a chance the devil may also be holding the other end and try to trap you. Realistically it was likely whoever did the daring messing with the target.
It's been awhile since I've read my 1912 book but sounds like this lore would be in it. It was all games about finding your true love.
http://www.halloweenforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=135283&thumb=1&d=1494953702
 

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The first card are what was called "Luggie Bowls"

‘Luggies’ are small bowls with handles (‘lugs’). In this tradition, three of them would be filled with different substances and arrayed before a blindfolded fortune-seeker, whose future was fortold by whether he touched the dish of clean water (marriage to a virgin), dirty water (marriage to a widow) or nothing (no marriage would occur).
 

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Discussion Starter #11

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His name is Roger Clyne
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The first card are what was called "Luggie Bowls"

‘Luggies’ are small bowls with handles (‘lugs’). In this tradition, three of them would be filled with different substances and arrayed before a blindfolded fortune-seeker, whose future was fortold by whether he touched the dish of clean water (marriage to a virgin), dirty water (marriage to a widow) or nothing (no marriage would occur).
That would be a great thing to do at a party. Minus the marrying thing. You could change it up to something else depending on the crowd.
 
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