Some Valentine’s Day customs

Valcard
Jo here.
We’re all dropping by for a mini-blog today, and this is my contribution from some research I did many years ago for a story in a collection called A Regency Valentine. The collection first came out in hardcover from Walker, so you might find a copy in a library. Then it was out in paperback from Fawcett.

Valentines Day led to many superstitions woven around courtship and marriage. If a girl looked through the keyhole on Valentine’s morning and saw one object, she would not marry that year; if she saw two or more she was sure of a sweetheart; if she saw a cock and a hen she could be sure of marriage before the year was out.

If snowdrops were brought into the house before Valentine’s Day, all the single ladies of the house would remain that way for the year.

This custom comes from a diary of 1754: Last Friday was Valentine’s Day, and the night before I got five bay leaves, and pinned four of them to the four corners of my pillow, and the fifth to the middle; and then if I dreamt of my sweetheart, we should be married before the year was out. But to make it sure, I boiled an egg hard and took out the yolk, and filled it with salt; and when I went to bed ate it, shell and all, without speaking or drinking after it.

(That seems guaranteed to give her heartburn and keep her awake with thirst!)

She also wrote: We wrote our lover’s names upon bits of paper, and rolled them up in clay, and put them into water; and the first that rose up was to be our valentine.

I used that one in my Valentine’s Day story. But I’m not a huge fan of the modern, commercial Valentine’s Day, so this cherub, drunk and with a fool’s cap under his arm seems very suitable.*G*Drunkcherub

Have fun!

Jo 🙂

12 thoughts on “Some Valentine’s Day customs”

  1. I, too, decry the commercialization of so many holidays or other days ~ there’s so much more value to doing something special for someone.
    Love the diary excerpt Jo…what people will do for love, eh?
    Have a great day!

    Reply
  2. I, too, decry the commercialization of so many holidays or other days ~ there’s so much more value to doing something special for someone.
    Love the diary excerpt Jo…what people will do for love, eh?
    Have a great day!

    Reply
  3. I, too, decry the commercialization of so many holidays or other days ~ there’s so much more value to doing something special for someone.
    Love the diary excerpt Jo…what people will do for love, eh?
    Have a great day!

    Reply
  4. I, too, decry the commercialization of so many holidays or other days ~ there’s so much more value to doing something special for someone.
    Love the diary excerpt Jo…what people will do for love, eh?
    Have a great day!

    Reply
  5. Hey Jo!
    Happy Valentine’s Day. Cute post. Funny how we think such things can tempt Fate our way. I remember doing similar stuff (w/o eggs) growing up and my Daughter does them now, too (taking little tests, playing word games and the like) I guess we females haven’t change much.
    🙂
    Nina

    Reply
  6. Hey Jo!
    Happy Valentine’s Day. Cute post. Funny how we think such things can tempt Fate our way. I remember doing similar stuff (w/o eggs) growing up and my Daughter does them now, too (taking little tests, playing word games and the like) I guess we females haven’t change much.
    🙂
    Nina

    Reply
  7. Hey Jo!
    Happy Valentine’s Day. Cute post. Funny how we think such things can tempt Fate our way. I remember doing similar stuff (w/o eggs) growing up and my Daughter does them now, too (taking little tests, playing word games and the like) I guess we females haven’t change much.
    🙂
    Nina

    Reply
  8. Hey Jo!
    Happy Valentine’s Day. Cute post. Funny how we think such things can tempt Fate our way. I remember doing similar stuff (w/o eggs) growing up and my Daughter does them now, too (taking little tests, playing word games and the like) I guess we females haven’t change much.
    🙂
    Nina

    Reply

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