One of the commonest customs and traditions of Valentine’s Day is going on dates, looking for the right companion. This practice probably descended from the popular English belief that birds chose their partners on February 14. And today’s Valentine’s Day is a time totally high on love–a time to whisper sweet “I Love You”s, propose with a bold “be my valentine” or just flirt a special someone with a few love-verses or some sizzling kisses.
Quite in keeping with the Valentine’s Day customs and traditions, people buy romantic gifts and cards for their beloveds and sometimes they even get into the act of the day with fragrant flowers, candlelight dinners or a romantic day-out, whichever suits their pockets. Heart-shaped cards, candies and gifts are all the rage in the market this time around. Gifting of cute heart-locks and keys are also quite favorite customs and traditions on Valentine’s Day, to say “You hold the keys to my heart”. Then there’s the custom of sending romantic messages to him or her on Valentine’s Day. Thousands of stores sell mushy love-notes for this occasion to draw throngs of lovesick souls to their doorsteps. So if you want to pamper your sweetheart with some really romantic poems and songs, start queuing up now and avoid the rush!
In Wales there was this tradition of gifting carved wooden love-spoons on Valentine’s Day, while in some places of England you’ll find the custom of special Valentine’s Day feasting and baking of extra-special Valentine buns. Now, the Italian and British maidens observe Valentine’s Day with a very interesting custom. They stand by the window before sunrise on Valentine’s Day with bated breath because they believe the first man they spot would be their partners for the rest of life. In Denmark, people send anonymous love-letters to their valentines to keep the fun alive and kicking.
One of the many other Valentine’s Day customs and traditions is the pinning of bay leaves in the pillows by unmarried women on the Valentine’s Day eve. This comes from a belief that they would be able to catch a glimpse of their future husbands in dreams if they pinned five bay leaves to their pillows and sprinkled rose water on them the night before Valentine’s Day. Then there’s also a popular Valentine’s Day practice of choosing female-partners by drawing their names from a big jar. Men pick a piece of paper each and the woman whose name comes up, she becomes his valentine. In some occasions, men wore their partners’ names on their sleeves and it’s probably from this that the popular Valentine’s Day saying of “wearing the heart on sleeve” came from.
There are umpteen customs, traditions and beliefs associated with this most awaited day of Love–Valentine’s Day. But not each is followed everywhere. With regional variations, the customs undergo slight modifications too. But the underlying current is the same everywhere! People wallow in their loved ones’ company, talk about being in love, enjoy being in love, promise to be in love and feel love all around as all colors are put into the back-burner for the day and the only color that reigns is red!