Valentine's Day Traditions
|Published: 13th February 2010 17:34|
Red roses; romantic rhyme and candlelit dinners: all modern-day Valentines traditions we know and love.
Valentine's Day - a special time for those in love
... But how can bay leaves and salt-filled eggs help find you identify your dream lover? ... And what does it mean if you see a robin flying overhead on Valentines Day?
Early to bed, early to rise ... see your future husband before your eyes!
Around 500 years ago it was believed by young, unmarried women that the first man they saw on St Valentine's Day would become their husband within a year. It therefore became tradition that these spinsters would rise early on this day and stand by their window, waiting for the man to pass. Even William Shakespeare's 1603 epic Hamlet mentions this tradition as Ophelia waits patiently for her future husband to make himself known.
According to myth, in Great Britain unmarried ladies wishing to identify their future husband found pinning a bay leaf to each corner of their pillow and eating eggs with yolks replaced by salt on the even of St Valentines Day would invoke a dream of the man they would marry.
Another favourite future husband-identifying technique carried out on St Valentines Day in Britain was to write a series of names on pieces of paper, tie them to clay balls and drop them into water. Whichever paper appeared on the water's surface first contained the name of the man they would marry.
A Valentines Verse
In Middle Age England, children would dress up as adults on Valentine's Day and trek from home to home singing sweet songs of love. One of their verses was said to go something like this:
Good morning to you, valentine;
Curl your locks as I do mine
Two before and three behind
Good morning to you, valentine
Stirring Emotions to unlock your heart
In Wales, February 14th saw wooden love spoons carved with hearts, keys and keyholes and given as gifts, imparting the message, ‘You unlock my heart!'
Wearing your heart on your sleeve
In the Middle Ages, young singles would draw names from a bowl which were supposed to indicate who their valentine would be. The names were worn on their sleeves for a week after Valentines Day. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is now a very popular saying meaning that others can easily read your emotions.
In some countries, if a young woman receives an article of clothing as a Valentines gift from her lover and keeps it, it means she will marry him.
Rich man, poor man, soldier, sailor?
Tradition has it that if a woman sees a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, she will marry a sailor. If she sees a sparrow, she will marry a poor man, but will be very happy. If it's a goldfinch she spots soaring above her, she will marry a millionaire.
© 2010 Vanessa Holmes. All Rights Reserved