Last week Claudia N. from Austria toured Lisbon with me and her daughter. After the tour they did some shopping and bought a beautiful handkerchief, with a writing they couldn’t understand.
These handkerchiefs are traditional from the North of Portugal and used to be embroidered by young girls to offer them to their boyfriends. The handkerchief represented the beginning of the relationship: the girl would embroider it with love sentences to declare her love, and the boy would use it in public accepting the commitment.
They are always embroidered with happy colors, flowers, hearts and always have a spelling mistake. At the time most girls could barely read and would write the sentences the same way they’d speak, trading Vs for Bs.
Nowadays they can be found in most handicraft shops and besides the classic handmade handkerchiefs one can also find inexpensive replicas, neat to use as kitchen fabrics, table cloths and home wear.
This is something I definitely recommend as a souvenir as they’re both traditional and beautiful. Congratulations girls, you picked a beautiful “Lenço dos Namorados”!