Mar Falten: Valentine's Day in Newfoundland

Mar Falten Newfoundland ValentineNewfoundland has an interesting idiom, expression or word for every occasion.  Mar falten is the island's valentine's day gift to the lexicon.  It's a greeting given on Valentine's Day morning and is, according to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English, an evolution of the phrase 'Good Morning, Valentine."

The evolution is not hard to imagine: a suitor approaches his intended on a blustery February morning, the word 'good' gets lost to the wind, morning shivers down to 'morn,' then 'marn' and finally 'mar'.  Valentine suffers the same fate, the middle syllable is lost and 'v' becomes interchangeable with 'f' as it's wont to do in some of our harbours (a vist full of vir twigs, anyone?). Over time "good morning, valentine" became "mar falten".  
When I was a kid, saying 'mar falten' was the basis of a simple game.  The goal was to be the first person to use the phrase when encountering someone.  There was no stiff penalty for losing nor any reward for using the phrase first, it was just the fun of trying to remember, and get the chance to speak before the other person.

Mar Falten Newfoundland Valentine Candy
While mar falten may have its roots in Valentine's Day, it's discovered life outside of February.  The term was also used on April Fool's Day, in much the same way as my childhood Valentine's Day game.  I don't know why... although, I guess, wishing someone a happy Valentine's Day on the first of April is a bit of a foolish thing to do.

Get a Mar Falten Valentine's Day Card
Mar Falten Newfoundland Valentine

Want to send a mar falten greeting but your local Walmart's letting you down? 
Look no further! 

Download this PDF to get the mar falten Valentine's Day graphics used in this article, sized and ready to print on a single letter-sized piece of paper.

Mar falten aside, Newfoundland maybe the best place in Canada to spend Valentine’s Day (in some year when it’s safe and responsible to travel).  We have so many towns and villages, named perfectly for the occasion. What could be better for Instagram than a cozy Valentine’s Day bed and breakfast selfie from Cupids or Hearts Content... maybe Hearts Desire, Little Heart’s Ease or Heart’s Delight?

A Newfoundland Valentine's Day Road Trip

Looking for something to do with your falten on February 14th? (Well, maybe not this February 14th) How about a drive through, romantic coastal Newfoundland.  The island's Avalon Peninsula is home to beautiful scenery and a handful of communities perfectly named for the occasion.  Cupids, Heart's Content, Heart's Delight and Heart's Desire are all accessible in a single afternoon drive.  If you're willing to stay out after dark, Dildo and Conception Bay are nearby too.

The origin of the name Cupids is not exactly clear.  What is clear is that it has been known by that name for a long time. Sir William Alexander referred to it by that name in 1694.  It has been suggested that it is an Anglicized version of a Spanish or Basque name.

Did you know?
The first English child born in 
what is now Canada, was born in Cupids, Newfoundland.

And while you’re off checking out the sights in Cupids, you might as well have a local soundtrack.  Check out my Valentines playlist below.

Romancing the Rock

There's a song by Newfoundland artist for every occasion. Check out the short 'mixtape' of music suitable for Valentine's Day... or any other day really. The YouTube version is above, hear it on Apple Music here.

I’m a curious guy. I always want to know more about the world and my
place in it. ‘This Random Island’ pieces are an attempt to answer some of those random questions that pop into my head about Newfoundland (my home). I’m no expert on any of the topics, but I do research and I’ll never knowingly lead you astray.

If you’d like more Newfoundland trivia in bite-sized pieces, check out my Twitter (@NfldFactory) and Instagram (@productofnfld).


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