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Some of the Symbols of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has been celebrated for generations, with origins that date all the way back to Roman times, however it was during the 18th and 19th centuries that the holiday really took off in a big way. Loving couples began sending Valentines to each other – gifts, cards and tokens of love which expressed their adoration, and several symbols began to appear that were associated with this special time of year. Many of these iconic images survive to this day and are regularly used on the Valentine’s Day cards that we exchange today. In this article, we look at some of these famous Valentine’s Day symbols and the meanings behind them.

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The Colors of Love

There are three main shades associated with the Valentine’s Day tradition – red, white and pink. The red color linked with this festival represents passion and love, its fiery overtones reflecting the energy and strength of desire and acting as a beacon of romantic attraction. White is thought to represent the purity of genuine adoration. It is also the color of weddings and is linked to another of the key Valentine’s Day symbols, the beautiful dove. Feminine and flirty, pink is a color formed from the combination of red and white, and shows that the truest and most long lasting devotion is a perfect blend of passion and purity.

Cupid and his Arrows

cupidThe mythological character Cupid dates back to Roman times and takes the form of a chubby flying cherub wielding a bow. In art and literature, his arrow is said to pierce the heart of lovers and to fill them with attraction and desire, so it is easy to see why this iconic symbol has long been linked with a holiday that is dedicated to romance. Today, this tiny winged god appears on Valentine’s Day cards all over the world.

Traditional Love Hearts

In the past, it was believed that the human heart was the centre of every human emotion, and therefore to give one’s own heart to a loved one represented a selfless act, and the giving of everything in one’s possession to someone who is truly loved beyond compare. Although the ancient people who held these beliefs did not know that the heart is, in fact, an essential organ which pumps blood around the body, they decreed that the heart was the key to all of our deepest sentiments and feelings, a belief which has endured throughout the ages. When we give our nearest and dearest Valentine’s Day gifts or cards today, they are often adorned with this popular symbol,

Expressing Love With Roses

One of the most popular Valentine’s Day presents of all is a bouquet of a dozen red roses, or the iconic single blossom, presented to one’s true love on this special occasion. The fragile beauty of the rose perfectly captures the essence of romantic love – delicate and easily damaged, yet when cared for and tended, it thrives and blooms in a spectacular display. Interestingly, the word rose is an anagram of the word Eros, the Greek god of love, so what better way to express your devotion on this romance-centred holiday?

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Lovebirds and Doves

valentines-lovebirdsIn ancient times, it was believed that birds came together to select a mate for the year each February 14th, and thus birds have become a popular Valentine’s Day symbol. In fact, in the earliest known written text referring to Valentine’s Day as a romantic occasion by 14th century poet Geoffrey Chaucer, reference is made to birds choosing their life partner. Doves have become one of the most iconic images linked with this holiday as they mate for life, and therefore represent faithfulness and loyalty in love. Lovebirds are also often associated with the festival thanks to their loving nature and closeness to each other. Their strikingly colorful plumage makes them a beautiful symbol.

Ribbons and Lace

Both ribbons and lace have long been linked with romance and love, ever since Medieval times when it was considered to be a sign of chivalry for a knight to ride into battle wearing the handkerchief or scarf of his lady. These tokens would be made from lace or ribbon, and this symbol has persisted into modern times. Ladies would also often drop their handkerchiefs near the man that they desired in the hope that he would present it back to her, and this romantic sentiment has led to a lasting link between these symbols and Valentine’s Day itself.