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.
" Morrow, morrow, Valentine ! First 'tis yours, and then 'tis mine, So please to give me a Valentine. Holly and ivy tickle my toe, Give me red apples and let me go."
" Good morrow, Valentine I Parsley grows by savoury, Savoury grows by thyme, A new pair of gloves on Easter day. Good morrow, Valentine I"
It was formerly customary for young people to catch their parents and each other on their first meeting on St. Valen­tine's morning. Catching was no more than the exclama­tion, " Good morrow, Valentine tn and they who could repeat this before they were spoken to, were entitled to a small present from their parents or the elderly persons of the family; consequently there was great eagerness to rise early, and much good-natured strife and merriment on the occasion.*
In Peterborough and in some of the villages in the northern part of the county sweet plum buns were formerly given, and I believe are still made, called Valentine buns; and these buns, I am told, are in some villages given by godfathers and godmothers to their godchildren on the Sunday preceding and the Sunday following St. Valentine's Day. — Baker, Glossary of Northamptonshire Words and Phrases, 1854, vol. ii. p. 373.
Drawing lots or billets for Valentines is a custom observed in the neighbourhood of Mansfield, where a few young men and maidens meet together, and having put each their own name on a slip of paper, they are all placed together in a hat or basket, and drawn in regular rotation. Should a young man draw a girl's name, and she his, it is considered ominous, and not unfrequently ends in real love and a wedding.—Jour, of the Arch. Assoc. 1853, vol. viiL p. 231.
* The custom was observed at Norfolk.—Brand, Pop. Anfiq. vol. i. p. 60.
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