Next Tuesday is Valentine’s Day. It’s time for cards signed with words of affection. Time for whispering sweet things to your beloved. Time for flowers and spicy, romantic dinners. Or at least a yummy meal shared by candlelight. Today’s post offers food, flowers, phrases, and folklore to give your Valentine’s Day a bit of Celtic flare.
Want to tell your special person how much you love him / her? Of course you do. Why not say it in Irish, Scots Gaelic, or Welsh? Here are some phrases to add a Celtic touch to your love notes.
I love you: Ir. Is breá liom tú S.G. Tha gaol agam ort Welsh Rwy’n dy garu di
Will you be mine? Ir. Am mbeidh tú liomsa S.G. Am bi thu leam-sa Welsh A fyddwch chi'n eiddo i mi
My heart: Ir. mo chroí S.G. mo chridhe Welsh fy nghalon
Sweetheart: Ir. milseán S.G. leannan Welsh: cariad
Darling: Ir. a stór S.G. leannan Welsh darling
My pulse: Irish only mo chuisle
My love: Ir. mo grá S.G. mo ghàrdh Welsh fy nghariad
Happy Valentine’s Day! La Vailintin sona!
If you’d like to whisper some of this in your beloved’s ear, I can’t help you there. I am not good at writing pronunciation, and I don’t usually find it helpful when I read it either. Here, though, are a couple fairly straightforward phrases: mo chroí (muh cree), mo chridhe (muh cree), a stór (a shtor), leannan (lee-ann-in), mo chuisle (muh hush-la or muh khewsh).
And this is where written pronunciations get complex. The hush is not said like the word to quiet people. It’s pronounced in a way that’s not easy to communicate in written English. It’s something like hewsh. So, if you want to whisper some phrases to your love, check out sites such as Duolingo online to hear how these beautiful Celtic languages sound. By the way, don’t let the look of Welsh words intimidate you. The language is much easier to pronounce than it looks on the page.
Flowers and Romance
Roses: Roses and romance are a standard, almost stereotypical pairing, but Celtic folklore claims that roses can help attract love to you. The lore suggests spreading rose petals across the threshold of your door to bring love to you. Alternatively, you can spray rosewater at the entrance or take the direct approach and spray it on yourself. If you invite a special someone over for a Valentine’s dinner, enhance the romance by lighting rose-scented candles.
Lavender: Ah, lavender is so relaxing but, Celtic folklore says it also incites passion. So, before the special dinner, bathe in lavender or dab essential oil on your wrists. Scatter lavender petals across the dining table. If you don’t have anyone special in your life this Valentine’s Day, try placing lavender petals under your pillow before going to sleep. Folklore says you’ll dream of your true love.
Honeysuckle: If the relationship between you and your beloved has become serious, consider adding honeysuckle to the décor. Folklore says that bringing honeysuckle into the house will bring about a wedding within the year. But be careful. The lore also says this flower’s intoxicating scent brings about risqué dreams!
So far, I’ve only addressed single people interested in finding or deepening a romantic relationship. What about married couples? Well, roses bring love and lavender increases passion. Valentine’s Day is a good time to re-inject these into a married relationship, isn’t it? And a married couple might enjoy turning honeysuckle-induced risqué dreams into reality.
Bluebells: Celtic folklore claims you can win your intended’s heart by turning a bluebell inside out without tearing it. I pass this information on to you but proceed at your own risk. These flowers are a favorite of the Good People. By turning one inside out, you risk harming it, and the Faeries will be none too happy! The Fair Folk are capricious and easily offended in the best of times. There’s no telling what they might do to someone who rips one of their favorite flowers. Before trying this bit of divination, I recommend you read my post “Irish Faeries: They’re No Disney Princesses” to discover the consequences of upsetting a Faerie.
What are you thinking of eating on Valentine’s Day? Lobster? Filet Mignon? Strawberries dipped in chocolate? All good choices. How about cabbage and hazelnuts? Before you decide I’m nuts, let me explain. Both cabbage and hazelnuts can reveal how compatible you and your love interest are and what life together would be like. Or, at least Celtic folklore says they can. Here are the details.
One way, according to the lore, that you can find out if you and your intended will be happy together is to take two hazelnuts, one representing you and the other representing your special person. Place the nuts in a flame-resistant container, such as a pot or a heat-proof bowl, leaving a little distance between them. Light a match and place it between the two nuts and watch how the nuts react. If they move toward one another, your relationship with your true love will be happy. If the nuts move away from each other, you will have a difficult or short-lived relationship. If the nuts dance a bit back and forth, be careful about entering into the relationship at all. It will be an emotional roller coaster ride.
The second divination method uses a cabbage. As with the bluebells, I pass this information on to you, but I highly recommend against using this method. But in case you’re interested, here it is. Run through a cabbage patch blindfolded and randomly stop to pick up a head of cabbage. Take the vegetable home and cook it. If it tastes good, all will be well. If it’s bitter…well, you know. Again, I strongly advise against this method. You could end up with more than a broken heart. Perhaps you could go to the produce section of your grocery store, stand by the cabbages, close your eyes, and reach for one. It might not work, but at least you won’t end up in the hospital.
Spicing Up Your Valentine’s Day Meal
Celtic folklore says that the red spices (aka warming spices) heat things up in the romance department. So, when you’re planning your Valentine’s dinner, be sure to add foods with cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and / or clove. Whether it’s a pumpkin-spiced latte, a cinnamon-laced apple pie, or gingered carrots, sprinkle those spicy herbs liberally. And don’t feel limited to Irish, Scottish, or Welsh food. You can incorporate this folklore magic into international or even multinational dishes. Below are just a few suggestions. Click the name of each dish to get the recipe.
--Fresh Apple Spice Cake by Ina Garten
--Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Loin by Geoffrey Zakarian with cinnamon and rosemary
--Beefy Butternut Squash Chili by Sunny Anderson with pumpkin pie spice
--Pumpkin Spice-Rubbed Pork Loin by Sunny Anderson
--Make-Ahead Vegetarian Moroccan Stew from AllRecipes Ooh! So full of warm spices!
--Triple Chocolate Lavender Brownies from Taste of Home
--Consider drinking some rose tea with your dessert. Here is a guide to rose teas you can purchase online. Rose Tea Blends: Easy Guide, Top 10 Best Teas. Or pick up some lavender tea at your favorite grocery store.
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Slan go foil!