ARE THERE SPECIAL SIGNS AND/OR SYMBOLS FOR VALENTINE’S DAY?

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It’s not difficult to figure out the connection between the heart and Valentine’s Day. The heart, after all, was thought in ancient times to be the source of all emotions. It later came to be associated only with the emotion of love. Today, we know that the heart is the pump that keeps blood flowing through our bodies.

How about the “X” sign representing a kiss? This tradition started with the Medieval practice of allowing those who could not write to sign documents with an “X”. This was done before witnesses, and the signer placed a kiss upon the “X” to show sincerity. This is how the kiss came to be synonymous with the letter “X”, and how the “X” came to be commonly used at the end of letters as kiss symbols. (Some believed “X” was chosen as a variation on the cross symbol, while others believe it might have been a pledge in the name of Christ, since the “X” — or Chi symbol — is the twenty-second letter of the Greek alphabet and has been used in church history to represent Christ.)

It became easier to mail valentines in the mid-1800s, when the modern postal service implemented the penny post. Until then, postage was so pricey that most cards were delivered by hand. Some people still make their own valentines. Most parents think these are the best kind.   The modern valentine card has become increasingly sophisticated, keeping pace with popular technological advances. For example, there are cards that let you record a romantic message, “scratch-and-sniff” cards and cards that play romantic music.

A variety of interesting Valentine’s Day traditions developed over time. For example, hundreds of years ago in England, children dressed up as adults on Valentine’s Day and went singing holiday verses from door to door.

In Wales, wooden love spoons, carved with key, keyhole and heart designs were given as gifts.

The rose, representing love, is probably the only flower with a meaning that is universally understood. The red rose remains the most popular flower bought by men in the United States for their sweethearts. In more recent years, people have sent their sweethearts their favorite flowers, rather than automatically opting for roses. Also making the list of valentine favorites are tulips, lilies, daisies and carnations.   Roses have always been the subject of great importance and a certain hit with the lovers all around the world. Roses symbolize love, compassion, peace, friendship and romance. They are available in various colors, each in turn signifying a different thing. Red for passion, Yellow for friendship and White stands for true love and devotion. Red roses were said to be the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. Also, red is a color that signifies strong feelings.

The gift of flowers on Valentine’s Day probably dates to the early 1700s when Charles II of Sweden brought the Persian poetical art called “the language of flowers” to Europe. Throughout the 18th century, floral lexicons were published, allowing secrets to be exchanged with a lily or lilac, and entire conversations to take place in a bouquet of flowers. The more popular the flower, the more traditions and meanings have been associated with it.

Today, just about anything goes for a Valentine’s Day gift, depending on the recipient’s tastes.

It’s not clear when the valentine heart shape became the symbol for the heart. Some scholars speculate that the heart symbol as we use it to signify romance or love came from early attempts by people to draw an organ they’d never seen.   Nothing symbolizes love more completely as does the heart. And for a romantic person there is no other symbol as important as heart. Heart signifies the life and if you give your heart to someone it means to handover to her or him one’s existence. The heart pierced with arrow forms the most important symbol of Valentine’s Day.

Cupid, the winged and mischievous little angel pierces the hearts of his victims with his bows and arrows. The Greeks called him Eros whereas to the Romans he was known by the name of Cupid, the son of Venus. Cupid is thought to be responsible for people falling in love

Ribbons and frills are synonymous with love and romance since time immemorial. These were given to the kings and knights by their beloved ones when they went to battles. Even to this day the ribbons form an important part of auspicious occasions.  

Lace has long been used to make women’s handkerchiefs. Hundreds of years ago, if a woman dropped her handkerchief, a man might pick it up for her. Sometimes, if she had her eye on the right man, a woman might intentionally drop her handkerchief to encourage him. So, people began to think of romance when they thought of lace.

The belief that birds find their mates on this special day still continues and today’s world is no exception to it. The blue colored birds’ best signify this belief. It is said that lovebirds can’t think of life without their mates. The Dove on the other hand signifies purity, humbleness and purity and wholesomeness.   Love-birds are colorful birds found in Africa, are so named because they sit closely together in pairs — like sweethearts do. Doves are symbols of loyalty and love, because they mate for life and share the care of their babies.

It was believed that birds chose their mates on February 14.  And so the dove was chosen to be the bird representative because it was sacred to the Roman Goddess Venus because it chose a lifelong mate.  They also make a cooing sound, which further proved they were the love couple. The dove was also a sacred bird to the Goddess, Venus (and other Love Deities).  And Noah had considered the dove to be his messenger. In the Song of Solomon, the word “Turtle” is really referring to the “turtledove.” The turtledove is common in Asia and Europe, but it is not found in N. America at all. Since all doves are part of the pigeon family, they mate for life and the male and female both share in the caring of their young.  Their cooing sounds are often considered “love sounds” and today it is often said that when people in love talk rather sugary and baby-like it is “cooing” with each other. 

But during the years, love birds have changed from Doves to hummingbirds to birds of paradises.  Today, love birds depicted on Valentines are tiny parrots brilliant in color because genetically they really are in the parrot family. They often act like young lovers also. How? They are known for living in pairs and keeping to themselves, much like young lovers want their privacy today. As pets they are considered loveable, easy to tame and respond to affection.  Some can even be taught to speak.

Love Knots – The fashion of sending love knots is traced backed to the Arabic traditions where young Muslim Women in traditional and orthodox households expressed their love and affection via the medium of love knots. These women used to send their love messages to their beloved one’s woven in the knots of a carpet. The concept of love knots continues to exist even to this day.   Love knots have series of winding and interlacing loops with no beginning and no end. A symbol of everlasting love, love knots were made from ribbon or drawn on paper.

Kathy Kiefer

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