L’amour

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. For most people that means a day of chocolate, wine and notes. Of course, the way single people celebrate tends to be pretty different from the way couples celebrate.

Singles in France celebrated the holiday with a loterie d’amour (lottery of love). That is until the festivities were banned by the government in 1776.

On February 14th single men and women would enter separate houses or buildings across the street from each other. Men would go into one house, women in the other. From the balconies of their respective buildings they would take turns calling out the names of their chosen person to then pair off.

Once paired off, though, a man could trade partners if he wasn’t completely satisfied with his first. This inevitably left many women scorned and still single.

And what should any scorned, single woman do in her right mind?

Start a bonfire of course. And so they did. All the remaining women would gather together and burn items and images of the men who betrayed them. As the fire raged the women would curse the men and their families.

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Photo courtesy of Tessa Presley

 

 

The event got so out of hand (hell hath no fury, as they say) that the French government put a stop to it and banned the festivities.

Depending on where you live, fires, thankfully, aren’t illegal. So if you’re single this Valentine’s and need to release some built up tension build yourself a bonfire and burn those bad memories.

If, however, you happen to be half of a happy couple try the holiday the Italian way. In this Mediterranean country couples exchange chocolate covered hazelnuts that are wrapped in notes of love quotes. You’ll have to brush up on your foreign language skills (or take advantage of Google translate) because the quotes are translated into four different languages.

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Grab yourself a bottle of Italian red wine such as a Chianti from Fontanella or Valpolicella from Corte Giara; listen to some soothing Italian crooners; and be thankful you’re not part of a lottery.

 

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