Historical Tidbit Offered by New York Times Bestselling author, Julia London
VALENTINE TIPS TO CONQUIER LOVE
The practice of celebrating St. Valentine's Day dates back to the ancient Romans and the festival of Lupercus, the protector of herds, crops, fertility, youth and beauty. At this festival, beautiful young people got to pair off and, well? I don't think we need to wonder any further why Valentine's Day has been such and enduring tradition. Enterprising people have, over the centuries, focused the events and customs of Valentine's Day on how to get the perfect mate.
You may discover, if you are reading a wonderfully entertaining, highly riveting and exceptionally well-crafted historical novel-you know, like I write - a few customs that have endured into this century.
For example, one custom was to twist the stem of an apple while reciting the names of all those one might marry until the stem snapped off, and voila, the last name to be uttered would be one you would marry (try this: Brad Pitt, Brad Pitt, Brad Pitt, Brad Pitt?). Another custom was for young woman to take a Valentine's Day stroll and keep her eyes peeled for a goldfinch flying overhead, which meant she would marry a millionaire. But if she saw a common old sparrow, she would do well to dive under the nearest tree as that meant she would marry a poor man, the consolation being she would at least be happy. Yea, right. So if the bird thing didn't work, she could always leave a sprig of YARROW on her pillow (don't ask me! I only report these things!). If the yarrow sprig was wilted the next morning, it meant she would never know love, but if it remained healthy, she would know eternal love. Wow. Think I'd stick with the apple.
My favorite custom, which comes from late 19th century Europe, seems much more practical than bird watching or yarrow sprig-spritzing. The custom goes that if a man gave a woman a piece of clothing as a Valentine gift, and she kept it, it meant she intended to marry him. Well obviously, this practice has its advantages-one quick check of the label and there you had it. Bargain-basement shoppers may try again next year, but a man who has the presence of mind to shop on Rodeo Drive, well, that's a whole other ballgame.
Whatever your custom is, I hope you have a Happy Valentine's Day!