Romance is such a new construction. It was just a few hundred years ago that women were just purchased and traded out on the open market. This makes the history of Valentine’s day both fresh and confusing.
What we do know is that some etymologists think Valentine’s day is just a confusion of consonants. Back when the letters v and g were considered interchangeable, the Norman word “galantin” which meant “a lover of women,” was at one time written and pronounced valantan AND valentin.
We love our romance, we can’t be bothered to keep our consonants straight.
Sounds pretty human.
All of that said, my favorite part of Valentine’s day are all the superstitions.
Back in the 1600s, a girl, could conjure up a vision of her future spouse. All she had to do was go to the graveyard on St. Valentine’s Eve at midnight.
There, she would sing a song and run around the church twelve times.
Boom. Vision of her future husband bestowed.
Stay at Home Version
If she didn’t want to leave her house, she could do what this lady did back in 1754:
“Last Friday was St. Valentine’s Day, and the night before I got five bay leaves and pinned four on the corners of my pillow and the fifth to the middle; and then if I dreamt of my sweetheart, Betty said we should be married before the year was out.
But to make it more sure I boiled an egg hard and took out the yolk and filled it with salt; and when I went to bed ate it shell and all, without speaking or drinking after it.
We also wrote our lovers; names on bits of paper, and rolled them up in clay and put them into water; and the first that rose up was to be our Valentine.
Would you think it? Mr. Blossom was my man. I lay abed and shut my eyes all the morning, till he came to our house, for I would not have seen another man before him for all the world.”
All you have to do is pin a few bay leaves to your pillow corners, boil an egg, take out the yolk without breaking the shell too much, fill the hole with salt and eat the whole thing without water.
Humans, we are weird.
Hope your Valentine’s day is chock-full of love.