In medieval times, if you wanted to demonstrate your love, you did so by presenting the recipient of your affection with a Luckenbooth brooch. This silver brooch consisted of entwined hearts with a crown on top.
The name is derived from the Luckenbooth or "Locking Booths" – small shops that were a regular feature on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.
Scroll down for the seasonal collection, and for more details about the tartans and their inspiration, click any picture to visit these individual entries on the Curious and Unusual Tartans website, where the tartans are arranged within the calendar year.
XOXOThe common custom of placing "X" on envelopes, notes and at the bottom of letters to mean kisses dates back to the Middle Ages, when a Christian cross was drawn on documents or letters to mean sincerity, faith, and honesty. A kiss was then placed upon the cross, by the signer as a display of their sworn oath. The costume of using an "O" for hugs has a more murky origin.
Vintage ValentinesIn the 1700s, something recognizable as a form of the modern greeting card began to be seen for Valentine’s Day. Early cards were handmade, and usually delivered secretly by slipping them under a door.
York Castle Museum has in their collection what is believed to be the oldest printed Valentine’s Day card in existence. Printed in London in 1797, it is hand colored and features elaborate floral patterns, cupids, doves, and a lace pattern.
Luckenbooth RingA traditional Scottish love token, a Luckenbooth brooch or ring is in the form of two intertwined hearts. The name comes from the luckenbooths of Edinburgh where jewelry and trinkets used to be sold.
Valentine's ChocolatesBy the 1840s, the notion of Valentine’s Day as a holiday to celebrate romantic love had become popular, and Victorians in particular, enjoyed the giving of elaborate cards and other gifts. During this period, Richard Cadbury, made use of the latest improvements in chocolate-making techniques to create many more varieties of "eating chocolate" and started selling them in beautifully decorated boxes that he himself designed.
Chocolate has a been a popular Valentine's gift ever since!
Valentine's Day OriginsThe Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.
The Pained Heart"Ay me! For aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth."
~A Midsummer NIght's Dream, William Shakespeare
This tartan was inspired by the colours of the pre-Raphaelite painting, "The Pained Heart (Sigh No More, Ladies)" by Arthur Hughes, 1868.
Floriography - Flower LanguageThe language of flowers, sometimes called floriography, is a means of cryptological communication through the use or arrangement of flowers. Meanings and magic has been attributed to flowers, plants, and trees for thousands of years, and some form of floriography has been practiced in traditional cultures throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Interest in floriography increased in Victorian England and in the United States during the 19th century.