Monday, February 13, 2006

Valentine's Day, February 14th


Geoffrey Chaucer, stated in The Parliament of Fowls, that St. Valentine's Day was the day "when every fowl cometh their to choose his mate." (Bartleby.com, St. Valentine.) And there we have one of the earliest descriptions of Valentine's Day. If birds chose their mates on Valentine's Day, it's not a far reach to believe that people ought to choose their mates on this day as well.

Some of the oldest Valentine's Day traditions are related to birds. Which makes me happy, especially after reading Nemesis's experience with birds and gardens in England this week. If the birds are singing and the bulbs are starting to come up... of course it's spring. The older Valentine's traditions grow from these spring-like experiences. Valentine's, like early spring, is a time of wishing and hoping for the future, for happiness that spring and love just might be around the corner, for the possibility of seedlings, new plants, greenery, flowers, and true love will come in the new year.

Yes, I do like that birds once had much to do with Valentines, it just feels more right, more joyful, more seasonal, more in line with the circle of life, more real. I don't feel sappy, or I wish I was all lovey-dovey, but, I firmly feel that I can celebrate the possibility of future love, as well as be happy for those people around me who are in love. Because even if love doesn't happen to come to me... spring is happening to me, and no one can stop that beautifulness from happening!

Valentine's Traditions

It was once believed that a woman could tell what kind of man her future husband would be by the kind of bird she first saw on the morning of Valentine's Day.

Blackbird - clergyman or priest
Robin Redbreast a sailor.
Goldfinch (or any yellow bird) - a rich man
Sparrow a– farmer
Bluebird - a happy man
Crossbill - an argumentative man
Dove - a good man.
But if the girl should see a woodpecker, she will never marry. (A Dictionary of Omens and Superstitions. Waring, Philippa. London. 1978.)

Yellow, for hope, not pink and red, is the color one should wear on Valentine's Day. A maiden who wears a yellow crocus in her buttonhole,(an honored symbol of the day, and perhaps one of the bulbs coming up in England) will increase the chance of meeting her future husband. (A Dictionary of Omens and Superstitions. Waring, Philippa. London. 1978.)


On Valentine's Night an un-married woman should cut open an apple. If there are an even amount of seeds visable, she will marry shortly. If she happens to slice a seed into pieces, she will remain unmarried for the rest of her life. (I personally think that I need to stay away from this tradition. No need to jinx myself.) (A Dictionary of Omens and Superstitions. Waring, Philippa. London. 1978.)

If a beautiful woman fall asleep with a mirror under her pillow on Valentine's Night, she will dream of the man she will marry. (And hopefully she won't break it and give herself seven years bad luck!) (A Dictionary of Omens and Superstitions. Waring, Philippa. London. 1978.)

If a girl forgets to look north every time she leaves the house on Valentine's Day she will never marry. If she leaves her hankerchief on a rosebush overnight on Valentine's Night, the initials of her true love will be revealed from the marks of the morning dew. (A Dictionary of Omens and Superstitions. Waring, Philippa. London. 1978.)

Here's one that I'm sure is a waste of time on any day: "A girl must first stand by the roadside and count ten red cars, and then look for a red-headed girl wearing a purple dress, After this she just needs to keep her eyes open for a man with a green tie, and the very next man she sees after him will be here intended!"(A Dictionary of Omens and Superstitions. Waring, Philippa. London. 1978.)


And finally: 1)If a person wants to know the initials of their true love them they must peal an apple in one strip, and throw it over their right shoulder into the left corner of their bedroom, and go to bed without looking at it. In the morning the peal will have formed the initials of their true love.

2) Throw your shoe over your shoulder; if it lands with the toe toward the door, you will marry within a year. If the toe is pointing to a corner you will have to wait another year for your true love to come.

3) A woman who is seeing a man seriously should place a four-leaf clover in her shoe, and the next time she sees her him, he will ask her to marry him. Some girls who aren't very pretty, and are worried that he will stray, should swallow the clover, for better luck. (Great-Grandma "Nan" Burns, Scotch-Irish Traditions)

Whatever you do, I hope you all have a Wonderful, Happy Valentine's Day!

8 comments:

LL said...

Wow! I thought being single was a tough job... I didn't realize it was also a busy job. I wasn't that busy when I was single. (Maybe that's why I had my mother worrying for a while.)
Anyways, there really should be an empirical analysis of these methods to ascertain which is most effective. We'll would need an unbiased/ blind researcher, though. I, for example, would be a bad researcher because I do not find the shoe-throwing proposition very preposessing. I am too passionate about non-violence toward shoes to give it a fair trial.
What do you think, AMS?

edgy killer bunny said...

Birds are appropriate symbols for Valentine's Day considering that they're, well, the horniest creatures out there. Everything for them is sex, sex, sex.

Let me know when you're ready for me to walk by in a green tie.

Absent-minded Secretary said...

Well, if you are looking to me to be the researcher, here are experiences so far.
1) No birds from my apartment to my car, or my car to my office.
2) Afraid to cut an apple in two because I might cut a seed, and don't want to seal the deal
3) Not too keen about the mirror under the pillow thing as I tend to be a toss and turning type sleeper and fear that I will break it and then slice my pretty face
4) Might try the apple peel thing tonight. If I can't get it in one piece in less than three attempts... well, I don't really fancy making my own applesauce on V-Day
5) Damn. I forgot to look North on my way out this morning.
6) I am wearing my only yellow piece of clothing today, but the bulbs aren't springing up here so no crocus in my buttonhole.
7) Don't have a guy in mind to be eating four-leaf clover over.
8) I just really don't want to invest the time in the 10 red car thing, and how likely is it that I will then see the two other things? And if I start, and then fail, does it mean I am not going to get married? Better left undone, in my mind.
9) I will carefully toss my shoes in as non-violent a way as possible, and let you know what the final results are.

Luv You! Happy First Married V-Day!

Absent-minded Secretary said...

Edgy, are you wearing a green tie today? Is there anyone in your office that has red hair and is wearing a purple dress? If so I might try this thing out...

Happy Happy Valentines!

Absent-minded Secretary said...

LL, I just realized that you were looking for an unbiased/blind researcher... which would not be me. We probably need to find a male engineer. I say male engineer because we need someone who hasn't been exposed to too many chick-flicks and/or chick-lit which predispose one to believe in romantic-but-unrealistic endings.

I don't have much experience with engineers. Have you any suggestions for our test subject? Would your bros be willing?

edgy killer bunny said...

Merciful heavens. Don't even think of approaching an engineer. I've lived with enough of them to know. One word: Kendall. Second word: Reed.

Absent-minded Secretary said...

Edgy, K. was your cute-and-fun-to-make-blush-roommate. He would be great for a girly Valentines Day empirical analysis. We love it when we can make boys all flustery and blushtery.

Don't be jealous that we think that you are too suave and debonair for the study. ;)

LL said...

Hmm. I believe both K and R asked me out, and that I actually went out with R several times.
Good call, Edgy.