February is the month of love, and people have attempted to foretell their future partners for centuries. I remember skipping rhymes and folded paper games as a kid, and Saturday afternoon sessions with Ouija boards as a teen! But there are many other methods of divination. I’ve collected a number of myths, folklore, traditions and superstitions to share with you! (But remember these are just for fun, okay?)
The apple has been associated with love for centuries. In ancient Greece, tossing an apple to a woman was a proposal of marriage – and catching it was equivalent to saying yes! Both guys and gals use the humble apple to tell the future in many European countries. One method is to twist the stem of an apple while reciting the alphabet. Whatever letter you’re on when the stem pops off is said to be the first letter of your true love’s name.
You can also peel an apple, making sure to keep the peeling all in one long strip. Throw the peeling over your left shoulder onto the floor. Now go and look straight down at it – whatever letter the fallen peeling most resembles is believed to be the first letter of your true love’s name.
Tradition tells us that if you eat an apple at midnight while looking into a mirror, you’ll see the face of your future wife or husband. And if you need to decide between lovers, folklore says to name an apple seed for each one. Get the seeds wet and throw them at the ceiling. Whichever one sticks is the one you will be happiest with.
Four-leaf clovers are lucky according to tradition, but they’re also associated with love. If someone finds a four-leaf clover, they’ll meet their future spouse on that day. Dreaming of a four-leaf clover implies a happy and prosperous marriage in your future. And in Ireland, if a woman eats a four-leaf clover while concentrating on the man of her affections, it’s said that he’ll eventually be hers!
There are many methods which are said to invoke nighttime visions of the one you will marry. Rubbing the headboard with lemon peel before bed or wearing your nightclothes inside out will cause you to dream of your future lover. Sleeping with a piece of wedding cake under your pillow will also do the trick – and so will a handful of daisies, a mirror, a silver coin, five bay leaves or a wedding ring from a happy marriage! Efforts to dream of marriage partners are said to be most effective on Valentine’s Day (of course!) but also on the eve of St. Andrew’s Day (November 30). In addition to his other jobs, St. Andrew is the patron saint of unmarried women! In old Austria, young women would drink wine and then recite the Andreasgebet (St. Andrew's prayer), while naked and kicking a straw bed. This was supposed to cause the future husband to appear in her dreams.
On this day in Poland, melted lead was poured into cold water – the shape that the metal took was said to provide clues to the true love’s occupation. In Slovakia and the Czech Republic, names of potential husbands were written on slips of paper and rolled into balls of dough on St. Andrew’s Day. The dough balls were then boiled like dumplings. Whichever piece of dough cooked first, floated to the surface -- with the name of the future spouse inside.
Birds have often been used to foretell future spouses too. Seeing a goldfinch on St. Valentine’s Day was said to mean you’d marry a wealthy man. A sparrow indicated a poor but happy marriage. The sight of a robin flying overhead means you’ll marry a sailor. A flock of doves? A happy marriage is in store for you. If you hear the coo of a dove on the first day of Spring, the next person you meet of the opposite sex is said to be your ideal mate. And last but not least, if you want to know if you’ll marry within a year, stand outside a chicken coop at midnight and knock on the door. If you hear a rooster, tradition says the answer is yes. If you hear a hen, the answer is no.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
Congrats to Jaime Lynn! Her name was drawn from the big pink mixing bowl as the winner of my giveaway.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by and left a comment. My next giveaway will be during the LEAP INTO BOOKS BLOG HOP beginning Feb. 29th!
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