Valentine's customs for children, from the days of Pepys - archive, 1953

The Guardian - Feb 14, 05:30 GMT

14 February 1953 The Guardian’s Miscellany column looks at Valentine’s Day customs and ritualsNowadays few would associate St Valentine’s Day with children

14 February 1953 The Guardian’s Miscellany column looks at Valentine’s Day customs and rituals

Nowadays few would associate St Valentine’s Day with children. Yet they were not overlooked when its celebration was not confined to an exchange of paper lace cards. Until roughly a hundred years ago their door-to-door singing, varying from county to county, but generally including the phrase. “Good morrow, Valentine,” was rewarded with cakes, apples, coppers, or, in High Roding, Essex, with “bright, new sixpences.” In Norfolk if children caught anyone afoot before sunrise they could exact a ransom of fruit or pennies; while in Rutland and Leicestershire sponsors presented rich lozenge-shaped buns, called Shittles, to their godchildren.

Related: Valentine's Day from days gone by - in pictures

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