Lencos de Namorados (Valentines Handkerchiefs) is a special scarf made from a fine linen cloth or cotton, embroidered with various motifs. This piece of handicraft and clothing typical of Minho, was used by women who were of a marriageable age. It was the custom for the girl in love to embroider her scarf and give it to the one she loved to keep with him when they were apart. The handkerchiefs could have embroidered with verses in addition to several drawings, some standardized with their own symbols.
It was used as a ritual of conquest. After being made the scarf would eventually reach the possession of the beloved man, who would use it in public as a way of showing that he had started a relationship. If the man did not wear the scarf publicly it was a sign that he had not decided to reciprocate the relationship.
Here are a few examples of scarves that we at TLAG like.
“Here you have my heart and the key to open it I don’t have more to give you and you don’t have more to ask of me.”
“A heart for your heart my love, don’t exchange mine, my heart was always yours.”
“Just as the threads of the scar for united, my soul is united with my heart with your heart.”