Why Do Students Give Apples to Teachers for a Gift?

by Jayme Scrudders
Folklore is behind the tradition of thanking teachers with apples.

Folklore is behind the tradition of thanking teachers with apples.

Students have been giving teachers apples for hundreds of years. There are several different religious and nonreligious stories to explain this tradition.

Religious Story

The biblical book of Genesis tells the story of Adam and Eve. In the story, Eve eats an apple from the tree of knowledge. As a result of this reference, the apple has become a symbol of knowledge, and children give teachers apples to thank them for knowledge.

Nonreligious Stories

From 1700 to 1900, children in Denmark and Sweden gave teachers apples because they came from poor farming families that were unable to pay for school. Children also gave teachers apples because teachers didn't make very much money and families wanted to provide them with extra food.

Present-day Explanations

Not everyone agrees with the Bible-based theory about apple-giving coming from the Genesis story. And certainly, school costs have gone down and teacher's salaries have gone up over the years. These days, children continue to give teachers apples simply as a tradition.

About the Author

Jayme Scrudders has been writing research articles and opinion-based articles since 1999. Her articles have appeared in the “Philadelphia Inquirer,” the “Centre Daily Times” and the“Daily Collegian” newspapers. Scrudders holds a Bachelor of Science in human development and family studies from Penn State University and a Master of Education in special education from Grand Canyon University.

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