Traveling to the Church
Walking is thought to be the best way to get to the Church, as there's more chance of spotting lucky omens.
Seeing a rainbow.
Having the sunshine on the bride.
Meeting a black cat or a chimney sweep.
Seeing a pig, hare, or lizard running across the road
Spotting an open grave.
Make sure the road is clear of monks or nuns too; they foretell barrenness and a life dependent on charity.
Bride to “count her chickens”.
Good luck for the bride, a kiss from a chimney sweep, as he has magical associations with the family--the hearth of the fire symbolizing the heart of the family.
A horseshoe carried by the bride is considered a symbol of fertility.
Bride should never practice signing her new name until it is legally hers.
Wedding linen was marked with the bride's a maiden name rather than her married initials.
Loud noises were said to chase away evil spirits, and during the ceremony, the guests would make noises to keep the spirits away. Today it is traditional for the bridal party to honk their car horns when leaving the ceremony.
If a cat sneezes on the day before a wedding the bride will be lucky in her marriage.
Looking in the mirror wearing the complete bridal ensemble before the wedding day. Old belief says part of yourself goes into the reflection and therefore the bride would not be giving all of herself to her new husband.
The bride should never make her own gown. The final stitch should not be completed until she is departing for the church and she should never try on the entire ensemble before the wedding day. It was felt dangerous for the bride to “count her chickens.”
A sign of youth and innocence is a young bride wearing her hair long and loose.
Other oddities, and superstitions
A white fleck on a fingernail, foretells a new flame in one’s future.
Spilling water, or flour on your apron front would lead you married to a drunk.
If four people cross arms while shaking hands, there will be a wedding.
If someone sweeps beneath your feet, or chair, you will never marry.
A single woman would write the letters of the alphabet on pieces of paper. Placing them face down in water, by morning her true love’s initial would be face up.
Young maids would pare an apple in one long peel, and then toss it over her shoulder and it was to fall in the shaper of her beloved's initial.
If sleeping in an unfamiliar place, the girl was to name each bedpost of her potential beaus. When she woke she would be facing the corner named after the one she would wed.
Taking the last piece of bread would lead a woman to be a spinster.
On Midsummer’s eve a Swedish girl would pick 7 different wildflowers, then walk home silently & backwards. She would then place the flowers under pillow and dream of her future mate
Girls would place nuts on the fire (each girl would name her nut of her beloved) the first to pop in the fire would be the first to “pop the question”.
A man would crawl under a blackberry bush to catch a glimpse of his future mates shadow.
Doors & Doorways:
If a girl found nine peas in a pod, she would place it at the door; the next available man to come through the door would be her future husband.
Placing a wishbone above the doorway would announce the first man through that doorway to be a maiden’s future husband.
A stamp placed upside down in the left corner of an envelope says :I love you.” But if placed in the right corner upside down means “write no-more”.
Messages could also be found under stamps.
Wearing the right glove with her thumb exposed she requests a kiss.
Victorian Times, gloves served as valentines & wedding favors.
Gift of gloves from suitor was a serious step toward marriage; symbolically he was offering his hand.
Chivalrous gentlemen sent a pair of gloves to their true loves. If the woman wore the gloves to church on Sunday, it signaled her acceptance of proposal.
Dropping both gloves a woman would express her love for another.
Throw your shoe over your shoulder; if it lands with the point toward the door, you will marry within a year.
It was advised, to courting women, to place a four-leaf clover in her shoe, the first man she meets would marry her. Some girls would swallow the clover, for “better luck”.
A woman fanning herself slowly indicated she was married
A fan in front of a woman’s face, held with the left hand, she wished to meet someone.
Twirling a fan in her left hand, informed her suitor they were being watched.
A girl would pick a rose & preserve it until Christmas; she would wear it to church. Her future mate would appear and take it from her.
Christmas, an unmarried girl would pick up a stack of firewood if it were an even number she would someday marry.
Valentine’s Day was thought to foretell the occupation of one’s future husband. If the first bird a girl saw were a gold finch she would marry a wealthy man. A bluebird Signified poverty. A black bird foretold marrying a clergyman. A robin told of a sailor, a woodpecker an old maid.
Easter Monday, single girls would wear one black garter & one yellow garter to increase their chance of marriage before the end of the year. A kind-hearted bride would wear a friends garter to increase her odds.
Halloween apples were believed to foretell the order in which a group of people would marry. The apple would be tied to a string and spun over a fire; the first apple to fall would be the first to marry. The longest remaining would remain single.
“Jump rope” or “Counting Buttons”, the following rhyme was sung:
Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor.
rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief.
Doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief.
Stubbing a toe brought this rhyme:
Stub your toe, kiss your thumb,
see your beau before evening comes.
Sneezing gives this rhyme:
Sneeze before you eat,
see your sweetheart before you sleep.
A bedtime rhyme:
Point your toes toward the street,
Tie your garters around your feet,
Put your stockings under your head,
And you'll dream of the one you’ll wed.
Where cobwebs grow,
beaus won’t go.
To recall a lover, a girl would throw twelve pins in a fire and say:
It’s not these pins I wish to burn,
But (his name here) heart I wish to turn,
May he neither sleep nor rest,
Until he’s granted my request.
Unmarried girls would silently pick seven or nine different flowers to make up a posy which they would put under their pillow on Midsummer Night so as to dream of the husband fate had in store for them.
The young maid stole through the cottage door,
And blushed as she sought the Plant of pow'r;--
'Thou silver glow-worm, O lend me thy light,
I must gather the mystic St. John's wort tonight,
The wonderful herb, whose leaf will decide
If the coming year shall make me a bride.
Midsummer's Eve in Spain is called the "Night of the Verbena (Vervain)". St. John's wort was especially honored by young maidens who picked it in the hopes of divining a future lover.
And the glow-worm came
With its silvery flame,
And sparkled and shone
Through the night of St. John,
And soon has the young maid her love-knot tied.