These handkerchiefs originated in the North of Porto, in the Minho region, and by the early 1900s had spread throughout
Each square was unique and embroidered in bold colours by young girls of marrying age, as a declaration of their love for young men. Once embroidered, the squares were passed to that special person, often by friends, in secret.
Because this was a very conservative time in
, boys and girls weren’t allowed to date, so these handkerchiefs became the secret language of love and a declaration of “AMOR”. Portugal
The handkerchiefs were famously full of spelling mistakes, revealing the young age of many of the embroiderers, as well as for many a lack of education.
Nowadays, these spelling mistakes are included on purpose and are part of the charm of the original “lenços dos namorados”.