Insect Soup and Other Extreme Love Tests People Endured in the Middle Ages

Humans have created all kinds of rituals and love tests surrounding the search for love or the confirmation of it. Here are some that are typical of medieval times.

Gabriela Castillo

Sopa de insectos y otras pruebas de amor de la antigüedad

When it comes to love, humanity has spared no imagination or resources to find that person who is supposed to be the one and only.

Today, love has acquired special connotations that go hand in hand with technology. To be honest, it pales in comparison to the conceptions of love in the Middle Ages or the liberties existing in regards to marriage as a contract, and the pursuit of love as something completely different.

Nevertheless, despite the passage of time, humans have persisted in creating all kinds of rituals and love tests surrounding the search for love or the confirmation of it. The following are some that are typical of medieval times:

Insect Soup

Similar to a love potion or the famous Mexican toloache, it was once believed that certain combinations of foods influenced the humors of the body and could make you more attractive to the person you wanted to conquer. But in addition to consuming it, you could also give it a try, like a soup of earthworms and leeks, that promised to make him yours.

Giving Quail Eggs as a Gift

Before flowers, chocolates, or any other handmade sweet, quail eggs were an ideal gift for a day like Valentine’s Day. This came from two beliefs: the relationship between birds and love —for example, the first bird a woman saw on such a date would describe her love life for the rest of the year— and in aphrodisiac food. Eating quail eggs and other foods would make each member of the possible couple more fertile and beautiful.

Marrying the First Person You Saw

It is a somewhat extreme tradition, but it was believed that on a day like this, anyone could be completely in love with the first person they saw, leading to marriage and a life together. For this reason, some women would go to certain extremes to not accidentally see men they were not interested in.

Making Turnip Lanterns

When it comes to reuse and resourcefulness, they surely were ahead of us. They created lanterns with the bark of turnips, placing a light inside it to set a romantic mood. To this decoration, people added other accessories that they wore on their clothes as amulets.

Writing Letters on Silk

Of course, the letters were motivated by love and doing it on such a fine fabric, as well as with lace, demonstrated a great level of dedication and of course, love. Otherwise, who would take the trouble to write with the utmost care to avoid staining the ink or making a mistake?

Choosing your Partner in a Lottery

The story goes that this comes from ancient Rome. The lottery was carried out by gathering the names of all men and women in separate jars, then each person took a paper and knew who their date would be for the evening and perhaps for the rest of their life.

Holding tournaments

Tournaments were the sport par excellence and were often played to win the favor of a lady. At the beginning of the tournament, they usually gave the knights some object of importance that they had to return at the end.

Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva.