He loves me…he loves me not

Why do we play “he loves me, he loves me not” with daisies? Daisy, daisy, give us your answer do

Pity the poor daisy, pulled apart by lovelorn types for many centuries. The answer why is hard to come by and even the where is disputed – there are a couple of countries vying to be the oldest daisy destroyers.

Among several 15th-century references in German books, nun and scribe Clara Hätzerlin included ‘The Daisy Oracle’ in her 1471 Liederhandschrift (or songbook). It also was dramatised in Goethe’s 1808 Faust. The French have the tradition of ‘effeuiller la marguerite’, literally ‘to pluck the daisy’. But, in a typically Gallic way, that game is more about how much they are loved, a little, a lot, passionately, to madness or pas du tout – not at all.

However, it’s another European nation that swoops in for the final bit of daisy lore. The world record largest number of people playing “He Loves Me He Loves Me Not” took place on a TV show in 2009… in Italy.

I remember sitting in a field as a child playing this game with friends. It was an innocent game.

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