Soon, people the world over will be silently judging their significant others by the size of their bouquet, box of chocolates, and bling. Ah, modern love — it all seems so trite when compared to the traditions of yore. Before Beyoncé was telling us to put a ring on it and greeting cards were expressing our feelings for us, young lovers were vying for each other’s attention with strange and fascinating courtship rituals. Parts of the globe still practice these endearing and bizarre customs, and we bring you the best of the bunch after the break.
For young couples considering marriage, bundling became a popular practice across Europe and Colonial America. Serious lovebirds would test the law of attraction by sleeping fully clothed in bed with a board or sack between them to quell any sexual temptation. Sometimes they were even sewn into their sheets. Clearly, no one was playing “light as a feather” at this sleepover.
Sweethearts not ready for bundling expressed their desires in other ways — but only at a safe distance. A hot date back then consisted of hanging out at home under the watchful eyes of your parents, but there was a way around their incriminating gaze. The courting stick was a six-foot-long hollow device fitted with ear and mouthpieces that allowed young couples to whisper sweet nothings to each other while in polite company.