British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

A calendar of the traditional customs, practices & rituals of the British Isles.

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100                               st. valentine's eye.                    [Feb. 13.
The peasants and others believe that if they go to the porch of a church, waiting there till half-past twelve o'clock on the Eve of St. Valentine's day, with some hempseed in his or her hand, and at the time above-named, then proceed homewards, scattering the seed on either side, repeating these lines:
" Hempseed I sow, hempseed I mow, She (or he) that will my true-love bo, Come rake this hempseed after me,"
his or her true love will be seen behind raking up the seed just sown, in a winding-sheet.N. & Q. 1st S. vol. v. p. 55.
As soon as it is dark, packages may be seen being carried about in a most mysterious way; and as soon as the coast seems clear, the parcel is laid on the doorstep, the bell rung, and the bearer runs away. Inside the house is all on the qui vive, and the moment the bell is heard, all the little folks (and the old ones too, sometimes) rush to the door, and seize the parcel and scrutinize the direction most anxiously, and see whether it is for papa or mamma, or one of the youngsters. The parcels contain presents of all descriptions, from the most magnificent books or desks, to little unhappy squeaking dolls. These presents are always sent anonymously, and nearly always contain a few verses, ending with the distich:
" If you'll be mine, 1'11 be thine, And so good morrow, Valentine."
The last three words are for the most part written on the wrapper also, with the address, thus:
Miss Mary Isabella King,
St. Giles,9
Norwich. Good Morrow, Valentine.
N. & Q. 1st 8. vol. x. p. 5; 1th S. vol. xi. p. 173.
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