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Feb 14 is worldwide the Day for Lovers. Amidst huge dollops of romance, here are some historical, traditional and some downright bizarre tales associated with Valentine's Day.
Some rituals have been gleaned from folklore while others just make you chuckle over practises that made hearts in another day and age go boom boom!
A Scottish Tale - 'Lasses and Their Valentine Hearts'Valentine's Day in Scotland was the festival time when they let unmarried men and women write the names of those they desired on chits of paper and tossed it into a hat. If all went as per plan, the woman got to choose the man she cared for. Once the choices were made, women declared their love by wearing the name of their suitor over their heart while the men wore it on their sleeve - this is said to be how the phrase 'wearing your heart on your sleeve' originated.
An Italian Lore - 'I Spy My Husband'In Italy, there was a belief in the sixteenth century that if you rise before sunrise on Valentine's Day and perch by the window, the man you first spot walking by before you, could be the one who would end up becoming your husband within the year.
An Australian Snippet: 'How About A Stuffed Hummingbird?'In days long before online dating became the vogue, young men in nineteenth century Australia found courting maidens an uphill task. So every year, they saved up to buy a really fancy present for the lady they fancied. And the gift that could sometimes run into hundreds of pounds? A perfumed satin cushion intricately decorated with a stuffed hummingbird in it.
An English Postcard - Love's Victorian SecretThe London dating scene today might be cosmopolitan, but imagine how life was in Victorian times. In those days, when unmarried women were strictly taught to hide their emotions in their tightly laced corsets, Valentine's Day was anxiously awaited. Young men pining for their Victorian lady love could subtly send them a secret love message through anonymous cards covered in velvet, lace and satin with a secret panel to scribble their message.
Truly French - 'No Lucky Draw For Valentines Please'The French thought they had hit upon an ingenious idea to pair off unmarried people. On Valentines Day, young men and women could go into houses facing each other and call out for the Valentine they fancied. If young women were spurned, they were given the freedom to light a bonfire and burn the images of the man and vent their ire at him. But it didn't take long for the French government to realise that it wasn't wise to encourage such bad blood and allow for public displays of such nastiness, as a result of which a government decree was passed banning such 'calling out of Valentines'.
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