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From The Tale of the Guelder Rose Flute in Your Ad Could Go Here:

Hannusia honestly did not feel she was being too choosy with the lads - she always refused the matchmakers, who, during the first autumn of her maidenhood seemed never to leave her doorway, one set walking in, the other walking out, With all due respect, I thank you for the honor, goodfolk, but I still haven't had my fill of my parents' good care - never once did she send anyone off with a pumpkin as a token of her refusal (to her mind, it was beneath her to mock a poor fellow so publicly, as if she really cared about him!).

Did people actually give people pumpkins as a token of refusal? Why was that? Was giving someone a pumpkin really a symbol of mockery, or was that interpretation just one of Hannusia's eccentricities?

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Yes, in Ukraine, pumpkins were and are used as a sign of rejection.

An old tradition held that a would-be suitor would visit a woman's house to propose. If the answer was yes, there was family toasting and celebration. If no, the poor guy was silently handed a pumpkin.

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  • One of these days, I'll remember to omit the article... Jul 12 at 12:41

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