British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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106                              ST. VALENTINE'S DAY.                    [Feb. I4..
Valentine, young women would look through the keyhole of the house door. If they saw only a single object or person they would remain unmarried all that year. If they saw, however, two or more objects or persons, they would be sure to have a sweetheart, and that in no distant time; but if fortune so favoured them that by chance they saw a cock and a hen, they might be quite certain of being married before the year was out.
Sweeping the girls was another real old Derbyshire custom. If a girl did not Lave a kiss, or if her sweetheart did not come to see her early on this morning, it was because she was dusty, and therefore it was needful that she should be well swept with a broom, and then afterwards equally well kissed by the young men of the house, and those living near, who used to go round to their intimate friends' houses to perform this custom.N. & Q 4th S. vol. ix. p. 135.
In many parts the poor and middling classes of children assemble together in some part of the town or village where they live, and proceed in a body to the house of the chief personage of the place, who, on their arrival, throws them wreaths and true lovers' knots from the window, with which they adorn themselves. Two or three of the girls then select one of the youngest among them (generally a boy), whom they deck out more gaily than the rest, and placing him at their head, march forward, singing as they go along:
" Good morrow to you, Valentine; Curl your locks as I do mine, Two before and three behind. Good morrow to you, Valentine."
This they repeat under the windows of all the houses they pass, and the inhabitant is seldom known to refuse a mito towards the merry solicitings of these juvenile serenaders. Hone's Tear Book, 1838, p. 201.
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