For centuries now, there have been certain special symbols that denote love, and most of these are still used today.
Did You Know?
According to CNN, an estimated 224 million roses were produced for Valentine’s Day in 2013.
Symbols have a way of evoking an emotion without having to do anything much at all. A mere glimpse of a symbol and the concept that it represents pops right out, complete with all the emotions and feelings associated with it. To cite an example, the simple flashing of the logo of a restaurant suffices for you to know which restaurant is being referred to, the name need not be mentioned. That is how symbols work. Speaking of which, one of the most popular symbols as far as symbols go are love symbols. While the first symbol that pops into your mind when we mention love is the heart (and you won’t be wrong there), there are several other symbols associated with love as well. In this following LoveBondings article, we will not only be stating what they are, but also helping you understand what exactly it is that they represent.
Universal Symbols of Love
The heart is the most popular and common symbol that represents love. And while the meaning ‘love’ is all-encompassing, there are several other meanings that the heart symbol holds within itself as well. Generally speaking, it stands for love, unity, attraction, mirroring or reflection, sensuality, attachment, sacredness, and femininity. The heart is believed to be the main force that makes people fall in love. All the feelings that one experiences regarding love such as excitement, compassion, butterflies in the stomach, and blushing, among others are said to be experienced by the heart. In earlier times, alchemists and magicians used this symbol for drawing up spells that were related to romance and love, as well as to strengthen relationships. The heart is also considered to be the symbol of charity, truth, compassion, and joy and is believed to be a symbol of God’s love―known as the ‘Sacred Heart’.
“My Love is like a red, red rose, that’s newly sprung in June”, these lines by Robert Frost are perhaps the most famous prose that equates the rose with love. While a red rose symbolizes the sensual side of love, the rose by itself symbolizes the many varied facets of love, like romance, passion, friendship, purity, and sacredness. Other than these, the rose is also known to embody qualities like honor, intrigue, devotion, faith, beauty, balance, wisdom, and timelessness. The popularity of the rose as a symbol of love is evident from the fact that it is the single most widely sent flower on Valentine’s Day.
In Greek mythology, the rose is commonly associated with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, who was often depicted as wearing roses on her head, neck, and feet. The rose bush, it is said, first emerged from the blood of Aphrodite’s lover (Adonis), and it therefore symbolizes true and immortal love.
The different colors of the rose represent different emotions of love―the pink rose stands for innocence and first love, while the white rose is symbolic of admiration and sanctity, and the yellow rose stands for mature love and protection.
The rose is also connected to Dionysus, the goddess Hecate, and the three Graces, and in the Western culture it represents voluptuousness, desire, and physical perfection.
The meaning of Cupid is desire in Greek. He is also known as Eros, and is believed to be the son of Aphrodite and Ares. According to mythology, the initial feeling of love that a couple feels is ascribed by Cupid, and that is why it is shown with an arrow that he uses to strike love into people. The Romans know Cupid as Amor, which literally translates to ‘love’. Cupid is often pictured as blindfolded in several forms of arts as well, this is to represent love’s blindness.
Even today, couples gift each other cute statues of cupid to hint that they have been hit by Cupid.
Doves, Swans, and Lovebirds
The dove was considered to be sacred creature for Aphrodite and Venus in the Greek and Roman mythology, respectively. In the West, doves, turtledoves, and lovebirds are taken as true symbols of love and are frequently seen at weddings. It is said that doves find their soulmates on Valentine’s day, which is universally celebrated as the day of love. That is why these birds are considered as symbols denoting this deep emotion.
Lovebirds are considered as a representation of true love because of their nature and personality. Whenever you see a lovebird, you will see it cozily sitting with its partner. It is also said that a lovebird cannot survive without its mate.
As far as swans are concerned, the image of two swans joined at the neck to form the symbol of a heart is considered one of the most obvious signs of love.
The harp as a symbol represents those facets of love that stand for poetry, music, and lyrical art. It is said that the harp was made after drawing inspiration from the skeleton of a whale through which unique music was created due to the passing of the wind. The harp is an important and mystical symbol in the Celtic culture because it represents the bridge of love that connects the heaven to Earth.
In Iceland and Norway, the harp strings are said to form a ladder which symbolizes the ascent to the higher states of love and other pathways that lead to paradise. The harp is also an important symbol in Christianity as it is said that King David played the Harp to the Lord himself to express his undying devotion and love.
A maple leaf (preferably red) is taken as the penultimate emblem of lovers in China and Japan. The settlers in North America used to regularly place these leaves at the foot of the bed to ward off demons and to bring about sexual pleasure and a deep sleep. In addition to that, a very common image that is observed is that of a stork weaving a maple branch into a nest, which represents the love that is seen in welcoming a new child home.
Akin to the sweetness of the maple sap, the maple leaf is known to represent the sweetness and wonder of love that is observed in everyday life.
The apple has several meanings connected to various forms of love. This fruit is symbolic of ecstasy, abundance and fertility. In China, the apple represents peace and its blossom is meant to represent adoration. According to Greek mythology, at her wedding, Hera (the goddess of marriage) was presented with apples by Gaia which were to signify long love and union.
So also, Dionysus (Greek god of wine) offered apples to win Aphrodite’s affections and love. The apple is also taken to mean the ultimate symbol of feminine love and beauty because of the striking resemblance to a vulva after having been split apart.
Ladybirds are quite a popular symbol of good luck, however, they’re also said to represent love. An Asian tradition states that a captured ladybird once released will fly to your true love and whisper your name in their ear; after hearing your name, your true love will make his/her way to you. Interestingly, the spots on a ladybird’s back are said to indicate the number of months that you will have to wait for your true love to come to you.
These love symbols are so universal, that a mere glimpse of any of these will lead you to think of ‘love’ in some way or the other. Such is their power.