British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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Feb. 14.]                     ST, valentine's day.                          105
as an emblem that the owl, being the bird of wisdom, could influence the feathered race to enter the net of love as mates on that day, whereon both single lads and maidens should be reminded that happiness could alone be secured by an early union.—Every Day Book, vol. i. p. 227.
In the village of Duxford and other adjoining parishes the custom of " valentining" is still in feeble existence. The children go in a body round to the parsonage and the farm­houses, singing:
" Curl your locks as I do mine, Two before and three behind, So good morning, Valentine.
Hurra! Hurra ! Hurra P
They start about 9 a.m. on their expedition, which must be finished by noon; otherwise their singing is not acknowledged in any way. In some few cases the donor gives each child a halfpenny, others throw from their doors the coppers they feel disposed to part with amongst the little band of choristers, which are eagerly scrambled after.—The Antiquary, 1873, vol. iii. p. 103.
The following customs, which have nearly died out, were very prevalent about fifty or sixty years ago:
Valentine Dealing.—Each young woman in the house would procure several slips of paper, and write upon them the names of the young men she knew, or those she had a preference for. The slips when ready were put into a boot or shoe (a man's), or else into a hat, and shaken up, Each lassie then put in her hand and drew a slip, which she read and retained until every one had drawn. The slips were then put back and the drawing done over again, which ceremony was performed three times. If a girl drew the same slip thrice, she was sure to be married in a short time, and to a person of the same name as that which was written upon the thrice drawn slip.
Looking through the Keyhole.—On the early morn of St.
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