Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Valentine's Day in the Wild West by Cora Leland

 St. Valentine's Day in the Wild West

You know that the largest settler groups came from Europe to America, and that their children, or sometimes their relatives back in the old country settled the American West.  Here's a sampling of St. Valentine's Day celebrations back then.
Czechoslovakian women newly arrived in America

Czechoslovakia was formed in 1918, but these very religious people fled to American shores long before then.  The first Czechoslovakian settlers in Texas arrived in 1847.  St. Valentine's Day was a symbol of the Ascension. 

 Welsh settlers, though, celebrated St. Valentine's Day as romantic.  Their patron wasn't St. Valentine, but 
St Dwynwen.   The myth surrounding her is that she fell in love with a handsome prince, but her father planned for her to marry someone else.  She went into a convent and married no one. 
Remains of St. Dwynwen's churcn
However, she was granted three wishes.  She gave all of them for success in matrimony for others.  Her holiday is three weeks before St. Valentine's Day.
St. Valentine's Day in early England.  When I traveled in the UK I was studying English lit & was surprised by how many English students - and citizens - told me about which author lived in the area.  Since then I'm never surprised when I read about English people and their dedication to the language and traditions.  For example, the first mention of love and St. Valentine's Day came from the poet Chaucer in 1382.  In his tale, The Parliament of Fowles, Chaucer congratulates young Prince Richard on his new engagement, likening it to the meeting of love birds on that day set apart for lovers.
Chaucer's Love Birds
But St. Valentine's Day really took off after the Civil War.  Before then New Yorkers bought and exchanged valentines they'd originally seen in England.  Before long, Valentine's Day was an established custom in America.  Since the first pilgrims, romance has always been an important part of American life.

Wishing you all the best.  Hoping you're warm and comfortable!  Sincere thanks to our admin.   Cora Leland Author

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