St Valentine's Day Traditions


We've come a long way since a woman's primary goal was to find a husband, but I have to admit that quietly, despite the commerciality of Valentine's Day today, I think I would be a little bit disappointed if the day slipped by without being marked in some way!

The start of the most popular customs linked with Saint Valentine's Day can almost certainly be traced back to the Middle Ages when it was generally thought that on 14th February the birds began choose their mates. 14th February eventually became regarded as a day especially for lovers with the writing of romantic letters and the sending of love tokens, and there are all sorts of weird and wonderful customs associated with it. 

Here we take a look at some of them…

  • By tradition, a young girl was supposed to eventually marry the first eligible male she met on Valentine's Day. 
  • If she were brave or curious enough it was thought that a young girl could conjure-up the appearance of her future spouse by visiting a graveyard at midnight on the Eve of Saint Valentine's Day and singing a prescribed chant while running around the church twelve times!
  • If a person thinks of five or six names considered to be suitable marriage partners and twists the stem of an apple while the names are being recited, then it was believed the eventual spouse will be the one whose name was recited at the moment the stem broke.
  • Did you know that approximately 150 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine's Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas?
  • To be awoken by a kiss on Valentine's Day is considered lucky.
  • For a girl to sleep with a sprig of rosemary pinned inside the pillow on the Eve of Valentine's Day was once thought to encourage dreams of a future sweetheart's face.
  • One of the most ancient of Valentine's Days rituals (dating from at least the Middle Ages and possibly earlier) was the practice of writing the names of young ladies on slips of paper and placing them within a jar or bowl. The lady whose name was drawn by an eligible bachelor became his valentine and he wore the name on his sleeve for one week. It is believed that the saying "to wear one's heart on one's sleeve" may have originated from this custom.
  • It was once believed that if a woman noticed a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If the woman saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man, but be very happy. If she spied a goldfinch, it was said that her husband would be a man of great wealth.

There is something to be said for the thrill of receiving a card or a gift from an unknown admirer in the post, and it's a great opportunity to remind our favourite people in the world how much we love them. 

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