Cloved lemon

From Cunnan
Revision as of 22:35, 20 October 2003 by Morgant (talk | contribs) (typos)
Jump to navigationJump to search

Cloved lemons are often handed around at feasts or camping events. Love it or hate it, it's a tradition that is engrained in SCA culture. Here's what happens:

Someone approaches you with a cloved lemon. You can do one of two things.

  1. Take the cloved lemon.
  2. Politely refuse the cloved lemon.

If you choose option 1, you take a clove out of the fruit with your teeth (don't bite too hard into the clove. It'll taste revolting, and it'll make your whole mouth go numb ;) The clove is supposed to freshen your breath. You then indicate to the person who gave you the fruit where to kiss you - often the hand, cheek or lips, it depends on your comfort level with the person who gave it to you. You then find another victim - oops! person to pass it on to.

If you choose option 2, and there is NO shame at all in doing this. It is not impolite to refuse a cloved lemon, and your decision is respected (and often understandable). There is, of course, the other option - whenever you hear mention of a cloved lemon being passed around, to just avoid it like Plague (see: Black Death) and go outside for a cigarette.

Why do we use cloved lemons?
In period, you never wandered up to a stranger and introduced yourself. You were always introduced by a third party. This is a little too rigid for our modern society. Instead, we have taken the third party and made it a lemon.

How did this get made up? There's plenty of mythology about this. There is no doubt that the cloved lemon was made up (in 1974, some say [[1]]), but it strikes a resonance because it bears some simularity to a few period items and practises, just enough that people keep trying to search for the period origins of this practise. Related practises:

  • Citrus may have been covered in spices to serve as a pomander
  • Citrus fruit were expensive gifts in the 12th to 14th century, as they were not native to Europe, rather luxuries brought back by Crusaders
  • cloves may have been used to sweeten the breath in medieval times (proof needed)
  • kissing games did occur in medieval times.