Thursday, November 13, 2008

Parlor Game: Snap-dragon.

   A parlor game popular from about the 16th to 19th centuries. It was played during the winter, particularly on Christmas Eve. Brandy was heated and placed in a wide shallow bowl; raisins were placed in the brandy which was then set alight. Typically, lights were extinguished or dimmed to increase the eerie effect of the blue flames playing across the liquor. The aim of the game was to pluck the raisins out of the burning brandy and eat them, at the risk of being burnt. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language (1755) describes it as "a play in which they catch raisins out of burning brandy and, extinguishing them by closing the mouth, eat them". According to an eighteenth-century article in Richard Steele's Tatler magazine, "the wantonness of the thing was to see each other look like a demon, as we burnt ourselves, and snatched out the fruit." Snap-dragon was played in England and the United States, but there is insufficient evidence of the practice in Scotland, or other countries.
   There is a far less dangerous version of "Snap-dragon" played among college students here in the U. S.  Although, we are sure it causes many stomach aches. Players bring both very hot sauce and chips to a challenge and the individual who can swallow the greatest amount of hot sauce and chips without taking a drink of water wins. This game is often played in bars. We don't recommend it but some of you may be crazy enough to try.

No comments:

Post a Comment