I recently read about a Lithuanian summer solstice ritual where at midnight unmarried women toss leaf and flower wreaths into rivers. The belief is that their wreath will be pulled out downriver by the man of their dreams.
Were it this easy to telegraph to the man of our dreams that we are available and awaiting his appearance!
While I admire their intentions, the execution leaves something to be desired. My romantic nature clashes with my practical side. Too many issues arise for this matchmaking technique to be plausible.
- This process assumes my future mate can swim, or at least has a long enough pole and sufficient ability to snare my wreath from the river. I have no idea if Lithuanian rivers are fast or slow moving, but if the former, he’d better have some quick reflexes. Since this ritual occurs at midnight, he would have to not be an early sleeper, or else set his alarm to get to the bridge in time to snag my wreath. And unless there are torches or spotlights scanning the river, he’d better have great night vision, something most of the midlife men I’ve dated can’t claim. (Perhaps my dream guy is a much younger one with good eyesight and a strong swim stroke. Hmm. That could be fun.)
- How would he trace my wreath back to me? Would I attach a laminated luggage tag with my cell number or business card? Or would he ride his white horse (better yet, white Mercedes) from upstream village to village holding my bedraggled wreath asking all unmarried-looking women if it was theirs? What would prevent my sisters in singlehood from saying “yes” even though it wasn’t, just to hook him?
- What if he lived far downstream? Would he have the patience to wait until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. before he hooked my wreath? If so, then this would be a good portent as he wouldn’t yell when he picked me up for a date and I took a tad longer than expected.
There are several versions of this Lithuanian ritual. One has single women bathing in the dew (just how would one bathe in dew? Lay out a towel or wash cloth the night before so it was saturated?) or rivers, as they believe on this day bathing in these sources increases one’s beauty. (If this were true, I’m sure Esteé Lauder would be bottling this and selling it as “eau de dew.”) In some places girls wake before dawn to wash in the dew and return to bed hoping to dream of their future husbands. I’m afraid I’d never be able to participate in this version of the ritual as I rarely arise before dawn except to catch a plane, never to catch a man, or even a glimpse of my future one.
Another version has both men and women floating wreaths with candles on them in the rivers. If the wreaths of a woman and man float together, it is a sign that they will wed. So I’d need to be careful what guys are standing around me as they are most likely to have wreaths that commingle with mine.
While my cynical nature wants the data on how many Lithuanians have found their life partner this way, if I were in Lithuania on the solstice I would defiantly drop my wreath in the water. I’d hope my guy had good night vision, an accurate snaring arm, and Bond-like sleuthing ability to find me.
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