Valentine’s Day Scottish Shenanigans

Valentine’s Day is February 14th every year, everyone knows that!  But hardly anyone knows that St. Valentine still rests in a church in Scotland (more about that below!).  In Scotland now, Valentine’s Day is an important holiday, full of traditions and unique celebrations.

Vintage Scottish Valentine, circa 1907.

Valentine’s Day celebrations are not a grand affair in Scotland.  People prefer small get-togethers or a romantic candlelight dinner.  They exchange gifts and cards with their loved ones to make them feel special.

The history of St Valentine’s Day dates back to Roman times when St. Valentine was martyred for refusing to give up his Christian faith.

It is believed that the remains of St Valentine’s remains are in the church of Blessed St. John Duns Scotus in Glasgow, a little-known fact that has led to Glasgow styling itself as the ‘City of Love’ in recent years.  It is believed that on the night before he died, he left a wee note to the jailer’s daughter signed ‘Your Valentine’.

He died on 14th February which some see as the onset of spring, with new buds and spring flowers shooting through the winter ground; and this is a time traditionally associated with finding new love.  But February 14th has become a time when couples demonstrate their love by exchanging cards and gifts.  Some will become engaged to be married, while others will choose that day to marry.

Scotland’s reputation for romantic venues is already well known throughout the world.  Indeed the small village of Gretna Green is famous around the world as THE place for romantic weddings.  It is the first village over the Scottish border on the road from England to Glasgow.  It is renowned for being the place where young English couples in particular eloped; as English Law said they could not marry until they were 18 years old, whereas in Scotland marriage is allowed at 16.

valentine

The lass is playing coy, but who could resist that wee lad’s offer of his heart?

Various games are played in Scottish Valentine parties.  In a most popular game, an equal number of men and women are made to write their names on a piece of paper which is then folded and placed into a hat.  One hat is for ladies and the other one is for men.  The female then draws one name from the men’s hat and the chosen man has to stick with his Valentine throughout the party.  Later on, gifts are exchanged and Valentine’s Day is greeted with hugs and kisses.  Such “wonderful” Valentine games often result in unusual marriages.

Click here to find more fun things all about Valentine’s Day.

Hugs & Kisses from your friends at the library!  ❤

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