Exchanging beautiful cards isn’t the only tradition linked to St Valentine’s day. In days gone by, before an email greeting could be sent with the click of a mouse, and every town sold all sorts of trinkets, lots of thought and even more work went into impressing your lover.
Carving lovespoons is a traditional craft that dates back to the seventeenth century. The earliest one, dated 1664, was made in Germany, and both Scandinavia and parts of Eastern Europe have a tradition of carving spoons to give as gifts of love.
Created by young men eager to impress their prospective fathers-in-law with their skills, the original lovespoons were given to young women before marriage. Different symbols carved into each lovespoon had different meanings—a lock for security, hearts for love, horseshoes for luck and if the suitor was a sailor, he would incorporate an anchor into his design. The more symbols, and the more intricate they were, the better the chance that the young woodworker would win the girl of his dreams.
Wales is famous for its lovespoons and there is a big collection at the National Museum of Wales at St Fagans, near Cardiff. You can find out more here:
The museum also offers lovespoons created by contemporary woodworkers in its shop. The more decorative these love tokens look, the less practical they are, but who would want to use something so beautiful? These are gifts to be treasured and admired, not subjected to the rough and tumble of daily life!
Christina Hollis writes contemporary fiction starring complex men and independent women. Harlequin published six of her historical novels under the pen name Polly Forrester, then her first Mills and Boon Modern Romance, The Italian Billionaire’s Virgin, was published in 2007. Since then, she has written eighteen contemporary novels, sold nearly three million books, and her work has been translated into twenty different languages. When she isn’t writing, Christina is cooking, walking her dog, or beekeeping.
You can catch up with her at http://www.christinahollis.blogspot.com, on Twitter, Facebook, and see a full list of her published books at christinahollis.com
Her current release, Heart Of A Hostage, is published by The Wild Rose Press and available at myBook.to/HeartOfAHostage worldwide.