Valentine’s Day Customs : How Do You Celebrate?
A book I found on the topic of Valentines Day customs is a great read. I like this book because it talks about how Saint Valentine’s Day originated and goes into details about traditions and customs around this February 14th and provides crafting ideas , valentines Day recipes, romance games, poetry, and recipes. This book is called We celebrate Valentines Day. Here is an excerpt :
Many hundreds of years ago, in the Middle Ages people loved to celebrate Valentine’s Day. In Europe, celebrations were held on February 14th. People played games and exchanged gifts. The highlight of the day was a huge evening feast.
A Feast of Love?
Marion entered the large hall at the home of the young Lord of Port shill. Love lanterns and boughs of greenery adorned every wall. Marion felt that she might soar right into the air with excitement!
Marion and the other young girls wrote their names on pieces of paper and placed them in a bowl. Then each boy drew out a name . Marion sighed as she saw that mean Sylvester Switch had drawn out her name. Oh, how could she be so unlucky! Sylvester said, “My Valentine!” as he tugged hard on one of Marion’s cards. Marion knew it would be hard not to let him spoil the feast!
What a meal!
Then it was time to eat! On the table there was a peacock that had been plucked, roasted , and then re feathered. When the ball of cotton in the peacocks mouth was lit the bird seemed to breathe fire! Roast beef, small partridges , stewed quail, apples, pears, and figs were heaped on the table. Some people called these dishes “foods of love ”but Marion certainly no love for Sylvester especially after he had poured his drink on her head!
The desserts were fantastic. Because red as a Valentine’s Day color , the guest were served small cakes covered with cherries, plums, and pomegranates. Marion also tasted a special Valentine’s Day treat – plum shuttles . These were red and purple oval cakes as long as her finger. The cakes were shaped like shuttles, which were used by weavers to make cloth. People thought that the cakes help to weave love into the cloth of life. Marion hoped Sylvester would never weave his way into her life! Finally the meal was over. Marion has enjoyed every tasty morsel. Not even Sylvester could spoil this wonderful Valentine’s Day feast!
Love is in the air
The North American tradition of celebrating Valentine’s Day started when the settlers began arriving in the New World. Valentine’s Day customs started just when it seemed that cold February would never end. It brightened up the Winters day and was a good excuse for visiting , for parties , and for thinking about love. The settlers looked forward to it with excitement .
Before Valentine’s Day arrived young people and their parents were busy drawing and cutting out valentine cards . They worked by candlelight in the evenings . They made gifts such as strings of hearts, scarves, and embroidered hearts. They even made the wrapping paper! Then came the red letter day. Parents and children exchanged gifts and cards . Excitement filled the air as neighbors and friends bundled up in warm clothes delivered their valentines and then rushed home bursting with anticipation. Would they find something waiting for them when they returned home? Who would brace the cold winter day in Spring to bring a token of friendship?
A Heavenly Story : Valentine’s Day Customs
The Chinese and Japanese have their own love legend. It is not about Saint Valentine but about two star gods who fell in love. Here is the story of the heavenly lovers.
Love among the Stars
Once there was a bright star known as the Herds-boy who cared for the animals in the heavens. One day he took his herd down to earth to drink from the earths many rivers . Imagine his surprise when he saw the Weaver Princess swimming in one of the streams! She too was a star . She was taking a rest from her work of weaving clothes for the gods.
As soon as the young stars saw each other they fell in love. They wandered through the green fields singing songs and telling stories. They picked the ripe berries and waded in the streams. Before they knew it three years had passed. (Time goes quickly when you are in love).One day the Princess’s father and the Herd boy’s mother appeared before them. “Both of you have neglected your duties,” they said angrily. “There are no new clothes for the gods to wear and the herd has wandered all over the heavens. This cannot continue.”
The Herd boy’s mother took a silver hairpin from her hair. With it she drew a line through the heavens. This line became a roaring river. If you look into the sky on a clear night, you can see it. We call it the Milky Way. The river passed between the Herds boy and the Weaver Princess. “You must live on opposite sides of the river so you will continue to do your duties,” the parents told their children. “But one night a year, on the seventh day of the seventh month, you may cross over the river and meet.”
Now, every year on this night, joyful birds fly up to the heavens to form a bridge so the Weaver Princess can cross the river. And every year on this night, if you look up at the sky, you can see the Herds boy star (Altair) and the Weaver Princess star (Vega) cross in the heavens.