Monday, February 6, 2017

Appalachian Folklore: Love (Week 1)


I'm in LOVE with these vintage Valentine cards that I found online!!

I think of one word when I think about love in early Appalachia: courting. I found the following in the Encyclopedia of Appalachia:
In rural Appalachia, a young person would often meet his or her love interest in church, which was usually the social as well as the religious center of a community. The first stage of courtship, which some people referred to as "talking," began shortly after boys and girls reached their adolescence. It might occur following Sunday service, at which time a young man would walk a young woman home from church after obtaining permission from her parents. In the next stage of courtship, often referred to as "sparking," the young man would escort the young woman to church on subsequent Sundays and bring her gifts at her parents' house, where his visits were under supervision. In preparation for seeing her boyfriend, the young woman would don her finest clothes and would occasionally apply some kind of makeup, but Appalachian society's behavioral codes expected a young single woman to act coyly toward her suitor.

Courting wasn't something that was drawn out over a long period of time. Sometimes, a wedding would take place within weeks of a first kiss. The gentleman suitors followed tradition by asking the father for his blessing and permission to marry his daughter. I'm glad that this tradition is still practiced by many, including my husband. He, like many nervous suitors before him, asked my Dad for his blessing and for permission before asking me to marry him. Dad was on board with the idea and my husband and I are looking forward to celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary in May. 

Now that it's getting closer to Valentine's Day, I thought that I would share some folklore centered around love. 

  • If a young woman leaves her house early on Valentine's Day, walks down the road and the first person she meets is a man, she will be married within the next three months.
  • If a courting couple each place an acorn in a bowl of water and the acorns drift toward one another, the couple will soon marry. 
  • If you pin bay leaves to a pillow and sleep on it you'll dream of your future love.
  • Never allow a pot of water to boil over or it will boil away your love's affection as well. 
  • German folklore says that a man will surely fall in love with a woman if she urinates in his shoe. 
  • Break a coin under the new moon and sew half of it in the clothes of the person you're after, and the person will fall in love with you.
I'll be sharing more love folklore with you next week and I would love to hear any that you may know. Just leave me a comment down below!