October 21: Apple Day
Since 1990, this has been an annual celebration of the diversity of British apples.
Outline script for assembly leader:
A farmer once had an apple tree that produced many tasty sweet apples.
Every year he gave his neighbour some. The neighbour liked the apples so much he decided he would dig up the tree and plant it in his own garden. He did this, but the change of soil caused the tree to wither, stop producing fruit and eventually to die.
The moral of that fable is that, by being greedy, we may lose all. The story was told by Aesop, a slave Greek who lived about 3,000 years ago.
It's one of many stories about apples. For the Greeks, the apple was a symbol of love (someone we love is said to be "the apple of our eye"), but also a symbol of temptation. The fruit is often shown in paintings as being the fruit that the devil used to tempt Eve in the Old Testament's book of Genesis. But nowhere in the Bible does it say that fruit was an apple.
In fact, apples are good for us. They provide vitamin C, fibre and natural sugar. They are much healthier than crisps or sweets, and their fibrous quality helps to clean our teeth. The acid in them can rot tooth enamel, but this can be neutralised by eating a piece of cheese (which is alkaline). Saliva also washes away the acid within half an hour (it's best not to clean your teeth within that time).
Two thousand varieties of apples grow in Britain and Apple Day is held annually on October 12 to make us aware of the different tastes and qualities of these apples.
Follow-up: The story of Adam and Eve is in Genesis III.
Organise an apple-tasting using small slices of as many different varieties as pupils can find. Ask the tasters to describe the different flavours.
Take part in the national Longest of the Longest Peel competition or conduct your own event. Simply peel an apple in a spiral, keeping the peel in one continuous piece, then measure it using a length of string. The trick is to peel the apple in such a way as to produce a fairly narrow strip. The 2002 national competition winner had a strip 947cm long. The longest entry in the children's category was 72cm.
Entry forms and lists of local events can be obtained from www.commonground.org.ukappleday.html