In earlier days of New Hampshire’s history, Valentines Day was held in higher regard. There were poems to compose, sweet gifts to distribute, and rituals to perform. Today the day seems much more commercialized.
In 1851 your shopping list for February 14th might have included bay leaves, small pins, eggs, salt, and clay. If you don’t understand why, then read on.
The Manchester (NH) Daily Mirror of February 15, 1851 reported on the events of the previous day. “Last Friday was Valentine’s day, and the night before, I got five bay leaves and pinned them to the four corners of my pillow, and the fifth in the middle; and then, if I dreampt [sic] 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, eat it, shell and all, without speaking or drinking after it. We also wrote out lover’s names on bits of paper, and rolled them up in clay, and put them in water, and the first that rose up was to be our Valentine.”
Some of my popular stories of past Valentine’s Days include:
New Hampshire’s First Valentine: Valentine Hill of Oyster River (c1603-c1661)
A Valentine’s Day Story: New Hampshire’s Bette Davis Connection
Portsmouth NH 1846: Customs of Valentine’s Day
A New Hampshire Valentine Warning of 1850
An 1876 Valentine Rejection
Predicting Valentine’s Day Soft Impeachments