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Valentines Day

‘Valentine's Day’, 14 February, (See Mystical WWW Folk Calendar) is associated with all those in love, being named after the patron saint of lovers ‘St. Valentine’. It was the Christian Church who popularised this day in the reign of Emperor Claudius. St. Valentine was a young priest who defied an edict from Rome and the Emperor that prohibited young males in the army from marrying. It was believed that if a soldier were to marry this would lessen his strength and dedication to the cause changing them into poor soldiers. St. Valentine defied the edict and continued to conduct wedding ceremonies and for this defiance he was executed on February 14 in AD 269.

Valentine’s Day is also known as the ‘Eve of Roman Lupercalia’. This was a time of great celebration, a celebration of youthful love. Chance seemed to play a large part in this festival as sweethearts were chosen by a system similar to a lottery. Since Ancient Greek and Roman times this day has held a central focus in the folkloric calendar.

More recent traditions involve men and women exchanging cards which contained love dedications or even marriage proposals, each highly decorative, hand-made and personally designed. This tradition commenced in the Middle Ages. The sender then as now should never sign the card as it was considered to bring bad luck. Of course it also stifles any idea of guessing who might be in love with you. The idea of the secret admirer has long charmed both men and women alike.

Love divination games were very popular during the Victorian period for young lovers. There are many divination rituals and games. One of the most often used involved the potential lover writing the name of their favourite persons on a piece of paper and sealing it in clay which was then dropped into a bowl of water. The first clay to rise to the surface when opened would reveal the name of their future sweetheart or ‘Valentine’. Sending a gift to the person was the next step towards revelation and happiness in love.

Many different flowers are also associated with this day, given as tokens of love. A European belief in the power of the saffron coloured crocus to attract attention of a lover is best done if worn in the buttonhole. Armed with this she is more likely to meet her future intended. In order to dream of a future husband on this night one European custom often followed was the placing of fresh Bay Leaves under the pillow the night before.

The type of flowers sent or decorating a card adds further meaning to a Valentine card and has come to be known as ‘The Language of Flowers’. Some of the most well known Valentine flowers to be used to decorate the cards are highlighted here with an idea of the specific symbolism behind their inclusion, not all of which indicate love blossoming but also love on the wain.

Almond Blossom

As a symbol of hope, sweetness, delicacy

Anenome

As a symbol of withered hopes, a dying love

Forget-me-not

As a symbol of true love

Lily

As a symbol of purity (white), gaiety or falsehood (yellow)

Periwinkle

As a symbol of early friendship (blue), happy memories (white)

 

Poppy

As a symbol of fantastic extravagance (scarlet), consolation (red). If the love is faithful placing a petal in the palm of the hand and hitting it with a fist should produce a popping sound

Rose

As a symbol of love, pure and lovely (red rose buds), jealousy (yellow). This flower is dedicated to love

Snowdrop

As a symbol of hope, consolation.The flower is thought mythologically to have been a snowflake which was transformed to comfort Adam and Eve after they had been expelled from the Garden of Eden

Sunflower

As a symbol of the sun, and also haughtiness

Tulip

As a symbol of powerful love being declared (red), hopeless love (yellow). The heart burning symbolically like a flame

 

In America and also in England (UK) it is traditionally believed that a young girl is able to tell what sort of man she will marry by the first bird she sees on this day. Each bird has an association with a profession or type of character but yellow birds in general are thought to be extremely lucky if seen in flight or perched nearby on this day. The following mystical birds are traditionally identified with St. Valentine's Day :

Blackbird

Clergyman or priest, spiritual

Robin Redbreast

Sailor, nautical

Goldfinch (any yellow bird)

A rich man

Sparrow

Farmer, agricultural, of the country

Bluebird

A happy man

Crossbill

An argumentative man

Dove

A good man

Woodpecker

!!! No husband

It is said that if a young girl sees a hen and a cockerel together at the same time on this day, it indicates that she will marry the next year. The number of animals seen at the same time will indicate how many months will pass before this happens.

Whatever your hopes for Valentine’s Day Mystical WWW trusts that you are lucky in love.