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曾经的万圣节,无关鬼怪,关乎爱情

更新时间:2016-10-30 10:13:53 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Boo? Halloween Used to Be About Finding True Love
曾经的万圣节,无关鬼怪,关乎爱情

Halloween wasn’t always so scary. It was once less about fright and more about flirtation.

万圣节并非一向如此可怕,它一度并非吓唬人的节日,更多的是围绕调情展开。

A century ago, the rituals surrounding the celebration at the end of October emphasized love. Newspapers recommended parlor games that promised to reveal romantic fortune. Even the cast of characters was more oriented toward matters of the heart.

一个世纪以前,每逢10月底的这个节日,各种相关庆祝活动都是强调“爱情”的。报纸会推荐那些承诺能预测恋爱运势的室内游戏(parlor games)。而且与节日相关的角色更多的是涉及恋情的。

“Halloween in the early 20th century had far less emphasis on blood, gore and scary monsters, and much more emphasis on courtship, romance and the opportunity for love,” Daniel Gifford, the former manager of museum advisory committees for the Smithsonian National Museum of American History explained in a museum blog post last year.

“在20世纪初,万圣节不太关注鲜血,杀戮,以及可怕的怪物,而是更注重调情、浪漫和寻爱的良机,”史密森尼美国历史国家博物馆(Smithsonian National Museum of American History)顾问委员会前主席丹尼尔·吉福德(Daniel Gifford)在去年的一则博物馆博客文章中解释说。

“In fact, the image of Cupid was often interspersed among the more familiar black cats, witches and jack-o’-lanterns.”

“事实上,那个时候,小爱神丘比特(Cupid)的形象经常散布在如今人们更熟悉的黑猫、巫婆和南瓜灯的形象当中。”

Halloween games and traditions reflected that attention to themes of love, with many offering a peek at what the future holds. For women in a restrictive society, they offered a semblance of control.

当时的万圣节游戏和习俗表现出对爱情主题的重视,很多活动都声称能预测未来。在一个充满限制的社会里,这样的预测能为女性们带来一些掌控自己生活的感觉。

“Given the importance of finding a desirable marriageable man in an era when prim, proper, ladylike behavior was the norm, young women often reveled in chances to participate in well-established and -regarded traditions that might guide them to the spouses of their dreams,” Diane Arkins, the author of the book “Halloween: Romantic Art and Customs of Yesteryear,” from Pelican Publishing, said in an email.

“在那个时代,寻觅一个适婚的好男人太重要了,而女人们通常又要一本正经、规规矩矩,表现出淑女风范,于是年轻女性们通常会踊跃参加那些历史悠久、口碑良好,并可能帮她们找到梦中另一半的传统活动,”《万圣节:浪漫艺术与昔年习俗》(Halloween: Romantic Art and Customs of Yesteryear)一书的作者黛安·阿金斯(Diane Arkins)在电子邮件中说,她的书由鹈鹕出版社(Pelican Publishing)出版。

Here’s a look at some of those largely forgotten customs.

下面来看看这些如今几乎已被世人遗忘的习俗吧:

Snap Apple and Other Games of Love

预测恋爱运势的游戏

Apples played a starring role in many of Halloween’s romantic traditions.

苹果在许多万圣节的浪漫习俗中扮演着重要角色。

One game, Snap Apple, challenged participants to use only their teeth to bite an apple suspended from the ceiling by a string or ribbon, Ms. Arkins writes in her book.

一个名叫“咬苹果”(Snap Apple)的游戏把一个苹果用线绳或丝带从天花板悬下来,参赛者们只能用牙齿来咬,阿金斯在她的书中写道。

The first to succeed would be the first to marry. (In a more dangerous version of the game, the apple is speared by a stick with a lit candle on the opposite end.)

游戏中先咬到苹果的人就能先结婚。(这个游戏还有一个危险一点的版本,苹果被一个杆子刺穿,另一端则用蜡油黏上一支燃烧的蜡烛。)

In its heyday, the game was so popular that Halloween was sometimes called Snap Apple Night, according to various reports. But modern Americans may be more familiar with another, similar activity: bobbing for apples.

根据各种报道,这个游戏在全盛时期非常受欢迎,因此万圣节有时候被称为咬苹果夜(Snap Apple Night)。但现代美国人更熟悉的可能是另一种类似的活动:叼苹果(bobbing for apples)

According to tradition, a successful first attempt at that game — retrieving an apple with one’s mouth from a container filled with water — foretold true love reciprocated, Ms. Arkins writes. Repeated failure suggested that a less-than-ideal match awaited, or perhaps it was a warning to move on.

这个游戏就是用嘴从装满水的容器里叼出苹果,根据传统风俗,第一个成功叼出苹果的人会赢得真爱,阿金斯写道。游戏中不断失败表明会遇到不怎么理想的对象,也可能是在告诫你,需要重新启程了。

Other traditions were simpler. One old custom called for cutting a long strip of apple skin and tossing it over one’s shoulder. The landed peel was said to resemble the first initial of a suitor.

还有些更简单的传统活动。一个古老的风俗让人把苹果皮削成细长的一条,从肩膀向后扔出去,据说,苹果皮落地后的形状就是求婚者名字的第一个字母。

Another tradition involved eating an apple in front of a mirror to conjure the image of one’s soul mate, just in time for him or her to ask for the last bite.

还有一个习俗是对着镜子吃苹果,以召唤灵魂伴侣的形象,让他或她在结束前请求吃那最后一口。

The seeds within offered insight, too, with poems serving as guides to what they predicted. Here is one such poem, reproduced by Ms. Arkins and published in the “Kiddies’ Hallowe’en Book” in 1931:

苹果核也能提供启示,有一些诗歌专门用来指示苹果核的涵义。阿金斯在书中就引用了这么一首,来自1931年出版的《孩子们的万圣书》(Kiddies’ Hallowe’en Book)。

The Nut Crack Night

开坚果之夜

Nuts featured prominently enough in Halloween traditions that the day was also sometimes referred to as “Nut Crack Night.”

坚果在万圣节也有重要作用,因此这一天有时也被称为“开坚果之夜”。

According to one popular tradition, placing two chestnuts on a stove or fire, each representing a partner in a romantic pairing, would yield insight into the stability of a match.

有一种非常流行的传统风俗是把两个栗子放在炉子里或火里,它们分别代表着恋爱中的双方,最后的结果可以看出这段感情是否稳定。

A pair that cozied up to each other and burned brightly foretold a happy relationship, Utah’s Ogden Standard explained in 1915. But if one nut cracked or popped, that partner’s love could prove fickle.

根据1915年犹他州《奥格登旗帜报》(Ogden Standard)的解释,如果这对栗子彼此靠近,燃烧出明亮的火花,表明这段关系会很幸福。但是如果一个栗子爆出裂纹或者爆开了,这个伴侣的爱意可能无常易变。

By adding a third nut, one could compare multiple partners: “The nut which burns longer and more quietly betokens the more constant lover,” the Ogden Standard reported.

再加一个栗子,就可以在多个伴侣之间进行对比。“烧得更长久,更安静的栗子象征着更能持之以恒的恋人,”《奥格登旗帜报》写道。

In her book, Ms. Arkins describes a different kind of ritual, involving “boats” made of walnut shells filled with wax. Colored candles affixed to each represented potential partners. They were then set in motion in a tub of water, with the candles lit.

在书中,阿金斯描述了另一种仪式,用核桃壳当“小船”,里面灌上蜡。然后把彩色的蜡烛固定在核桃壳里,每支蜡烛象征一个潜在的伴侣。然后点燃蜡烛,把它们放进一大盆水中。

The boats that sailed together symbolized a match meant to be. The person whose boat first reached the opposite side would be first to wed. An extinguished candle indicated a lonely future.

行驶在一起的“小船”象征着命中注定的一对。哪条小船先到达另一头,它所代表的那个人就会第一个结婚。如果蜡烛熄灭就象征着孤单的未来。

Yet another superstition featured a walnut tree. The rules, according to a 1914 article in The Evening Public Ledger in Philadelphia, were straightforward: On a moonlit Halloween night, circle the tree three times while chanting, “Let him that is to be my true love bring me some walnuts.”

还有一种迷信是同核桃树有关的。根据1914年费城《公共分类晚报》(Evening Public Ledger)的一篇文章,规则很简单:在万圣节之夜的月光下,绕着栗子树走三圈,口中唱道,“未来的真爱啊,给我点栗子吧。”

Once complete, the participant would see his or her future spouse picking walnuts in the tree.

三圈走完,他或她就会看见自己未来的恋人在树上摘栗子。

Mirror, Mirror

镜子,镜子

While apples and nuts featured prominently — harking back to Halloween’s roots as a harvest celebration — other romantic traditions took hold as well.

苹果和坚果的重要性可以追溯到万圣节的源头,它原本是庆祝丰收的节日。此外还有一些浪漫的传统影响也很广。

One game, described by The Evening Public Ledger in 1914, called for a participant to walk backward in bright moonlight while staring into a hand mirror and reciting an incantation. If done properly, the face of his or her future spouse would materialize in the mirror. (In her book, Ms. Arkins describes a similar version of the game involving a mouthful of salt and a backward walk down cellar stairs.)

根据1914年的《公共分类晚报》,有个游戏是让参加者在明亮的月光下倒着走,手里拿着一面小镜子照着自己,并且念诵一段咒语。如果做得对,他或她未来伴侣的脸就会出现在镜子里。(阿金斯在她的书中描写了一个类似的游戏,需要在嘴里含一口盐,倒着走下地窖的楼梯。)

Another game described in The Ledger involved burying three items — a dime, a ring and a thimble — in mashed potatoes. The food was then served to guests at a party. The guest who received the ring would marry soon; the one with the thimble would spend most of his or her life alone; while the guest who got the dime could expect fame or fortune.

《公共分类晚报》上还有一个游戏:把一枚一角钱硬币、一个戒指和一个顶针藏进捣烂的土豆泥里。吃到戒指的客人会很快结婚,吃到顶针的客人会孤独一生;吃到硬币的客人有望出名或者发财。

Fading Superstition

逐渐淡化的浪漫习俗

As varied and popular as the romantic Halloween customs were, they began to lose their hold on the American public in the early 20th century.

虽然万圣节的浪漫习俗多种多样,流传甚广,到了20世纪初,它们开始在美国公众中失去了魅力。

Women, the traditional party hosts and targets of such games, were gaining greater agency over their lives, eroding the appeal of rituals that underscored their lack of power.

传统上,女人是派对的主人,也是这类游戏的目标群体,随着她们对自己的生活获得了更多掌控,这种暗示她们缺乏力量的仪式也就渐渐丧失了吸引力。

At the same time, a figure re-emerged in popular culture: the powerful witch. And unlike some modern depictions, she was alluring.

与此同时,另一个形象重新走进了流行文化之中,那就是强大的女巫。和某些现代描写不同,她其实是很有魅力的。

“The beautiful witch had both power and attractiveness, and could use both to make her own decisions about romance, suitors and the future of her love life,” Mr. Gifford explained.

“美丽的女巫既有力量又有魅力,可以运用二者,在恋爱、追求者与未来的爱情生活方面做出自己的决定,”吉福德解释说。

The witch had no need for fortunetelling games: She could create her own destiny.

这样的女巫不需要什么算命游戏,她可以创造自己的命运。

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