Valentine’s Day in Croatia
Valentine’s Day…some love it, some dread it. Some, go all out and enjoy the romantic day and others… ignore it completely.
No matter how you feel about this Hallmark Holiday, it wasn’t always focused on red roses, chocolates, teddy bears, cards or even diamonds, it started from a place of Love. Croatia has its own take on this day of love, and here is a bit of information of folktales and customs in Croatia that paid homage to Saint Valentine:
The Origins of the Holiday
Saint Valentine is a third-century saint commemorated on February 14th as a protector of love and marriage. He has been commemorated on February 14th since the High Middle Ages and is worshipped in Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Lutheranism and individual protestant churches, including Baptists.
Why is he considered the protector of love, and why on February 14th?
February 14th comes after the Christmas holidays and just before Lent. In the old times, the Croatian way of life was highly influenced by Church holidays and liturgy. Due to this, the Church would request its believers to not get married during important Church holidays like Christmas or Easter and not to get married or have loud celebrations during Advent or Lent, so February was the perfect time for weddings.
Old customs and superstitions in Croatians folk tradition that are related to St Valentine’s day:
1. If the weather is nice on St. Valentine’s day, it will be so the rest of the year as well.
2. Women didn’t crochet on St. Valentine’s day because they believed if they didn’t, St. Valentine would protect them from all troubles.
3. In northwestern parts of Croatia, birds made out of dough were baked and then given as gifts.
4. On St. Valentine’s day even the birds get married so sometimes people went to the woods to leave some food for their celebration.
5. There was a ritual game that was played with children. The children were sent to the gardens to look for birds and if they find them they will get red boots as a gift. Of course, the boots were just a symbolic gift because red boots were actually frostbitten feet.
6. If a girl sees a robin on St. Valentine’s day she will get married to a sailor.
7. If a girl sees a sparrow on St. Valentine’s day she will get married to a poor man. On the other hand, if she sees a goldfinch, she will get married to a rich man.
8. If a ladybug lands on your hand it will bring you good luck. Whichever direction the ladybug flies away is the side your loved one will come from.
No matter how you celebrate Valentine’s Day, February definitely has the feeling of love and if you love to travel, Croatia is full of reasons to visit!