The Western world has a richness of customs and rituals some of which, due to our busy lives, have become lost over the years. February brings Valentine’s Day on the 14th., a day which everyone remembers and was traditionally thought to be the day on which bird courtship began. In the past, single ladies believed that whatever bird they saw flying above them on that day would indicate their future husband e.g. a robin indicated a sailor, a sparrow a poor man and a goldfinch a rich gentleman. Today, millions of pounds are spent on cards, flowers and gifts, though not always sent anonymously, as used to be the case.
There was also a day known as ‘Kissing Friday’, which always fell on the first Friday after Ash Wednesday. On this day, schoolboys were allowed to kiss girls, without being reproached and in some parts of England the title of ‘Nippy Hug Day’ allowed men to ask women for the same pleasure. However, if the reply was not in their favour, they would nip the lady’s bottom, this custom being linked with the unpleasant task of removing lice. Unfortunately, this day fell off the calendar some time in the 1940s.
A lot of good feelings are associated with kissing, and it is something we all do – whether kissing our partners, our families or our friends. In some cultures it is even considered normal to kiss strangers and people we are meeting for the first time. Kissing is something which produces hormones in both people and creates stronger feelings of love and devotion, and is highly important for any successful relationship and to strengthen feelings of love, devotion and lust. There are also many different ways to kiss – whether it be French kissing with tongues or just a simple peck on the cheek or hand – there’s a kiss for every mood and every scenario. It is crucial to our lives today and it is intertwined with our emotions and relationships. Yet the practice of a man kissing his wife started way back in roman times, when gladiators were truly tasting their ladies’ lips, to check that they hadn’t been at the homemade wine. A truly sobering thought!