Today, February 13th was traditionally " St. Valentine's Eve ". Celebrated with as much anticipation as Christmas Eve, I can find no scoffers of the era over too-heady plunges into romance laced frenzies. Little pre-war, Godey's romance drenched illustration is all the source required.
This may indicated it was tolerated with affection. How nice. Have we devolved or progressed? Hard to say. Some truly delightful, albeit a little wearing Valentine's Day customs have passed into Time, now mere History.
As we see in an awful lot of History, an awful lot in Valentine's Day history is up for grabs. It's all nice, except the part where Valentine himself becomes a saint. That seems to have been achieved, with the festival ( day ) devoted to him, beginning with his beheading. Roman Claudius, being adverse to those pesky Christians got rid of Valentine in the manner. Valentine promptly became Saint Valentine, with his own festival day. Being a man whose love of humankind got him killed, our present holiday morphed from there. Probably.
Cupid and Venus ( speaking of Roman and Greeks- and mythology ) were an awful lot weirder in the 16th century- but were straying from mythology into romantic forms. Venus, we left behind- cherubs we kept.
Here's that cherub's romance laced, the 1500's 's great great great great ( great? ) grand cherub in 1861. Part of an illustration in a book on Hathitrust.
Nicely in sync with Spring's clock, and birds naturally enough deciding it is time to get on with things, Valentine's Day has been linked with ' birds coupling ' ( hence love ) since Shakespeare, who wrote more on birds and love than any, other poet ( ever ). Poets have waxed lyrical on love ever since. Being human, we read them, agreed and ' Love ' morphed through Valentine's Day customs adopted and discarded ( you should forgive the pun ) through centuries.
Birds choosing their mates on this day has been a theme through the centuries, although lost in 2018 You so see a lot of birds on era cards- may explain it!
One of Howell's famous cards, found on LoC under merely " To Margaret ".What a wonderful collection, centuries worth of romance packaged for 1860, received by Margaret. Birds, flowers symbolic of Spring and ( whether or not Howell was aware ) a Grecian style stand.
Snip from an 1863 article on Valentine's Day.
The first man spied-laid eyes on, was your Valentine. For the wholeeeee year They did it, too, from what you read. You can imagine jealous boyfriends waiting outside their sweetheart's homes ' til first light. Since both sides ensured a successful eye-setting there was small chance anyone had old Ed, the handyman next door, fixing the doorknob that day, for their sweetie- for the next year. Besides, he was already married.
Boil an egg, take out the yolk, fill the vacant spot with salt- eat it shell, salt and white. NO cheating, no water or drink and go to sleep. Your love will come get you in the morning. You just know he will ask you to please brush your teeth before everyone rides off into the dawn.
Pinning 5 bay leaves on you pillow, one on each corner, one in the middle and sleeping on it, would make you dream of your Valentine BUT- you could also write names on slips of paper, drown each in a bowl of water and the one first to raise itself from watery sludge was he.
I don't know. Valentine's Day Eve may sound a bit much, but was it? Yes, men out there, but consider a female's life in most earlier eras. Then allow her this extra-extra day. Then remember those flowers to take home.
It's ok to be this guy for the day, so she can open her eyes tomorrow morning.