Sensual Symbols

Where did long held Valentine’s Day icons come from?

Valentine’s Day has a long history and many different customs and traditions that have evolved since the marking of this romantic day.

It wouldn’t be right to talk about Valentine’s Day without talking about Cupid. The little angel that has been known for causing a romance or two is said to be the son of the goddess of love Venus, according to Roman mythology. Venus supposedly sent Cupid out to shoot people with arrows since he was blessed with the ability to make them fall in love.

The Greeks tell a different tale about Cupid. According to their mythology, Cupid is actually Eros the god of love and son of Aphrodite who is the Greek goddess of love.

Cupid is almost always depicted as a baby angel that causes a lot of mischief.

One symbol commonly associated with Valentine’s Day is the red rose. One legend states the tradition of the rose came from a young woman who had many suitors pursuing her. The suitors were so obsessed with the woman that they broke down her door, which infuriated the goddess Diana. The goddess turned the woman into a rose and her suitors into the thorns.

Another legend states Cupid was delivering a jar of special nectar to Mount Olympus for the gods and he dropped it. A rose is said to have sprung from where the nectar dropped.

Another interesting note about the rose is that if its letters are rearranged it spells out Eros who is the god of love. The rose is also said to be Venus’s favorite flower.

Red hearts, often with arrows through them, are also associated with that special February day. When a heart is pierced with an arrow it is said to have a couple possible meanings. One is that Cupid shot an arrow through the heart and the person it was aimed at will fall in love with the next person they see.

Another legend says that a pierced heart meant taking a chance of being vulnerable and rejected. It was meant to symbolize how delicate love was. Some also think it is symbolic for a female and male joining together.

Another reason hearts are commonly associated with love is that in the 12th, century organs throughout the body and their functions were unknown. People believed the function of the organ was to stimulate feelings and emotions.

Lovebirds and doves are said to symbolize love on Valentine’s Day because people have believed for centuries that birds found their mates on Feb. 14. Doves symbolize peace, tranquility, and purity and lovebirds represent everlasting love.

Lovebirds are representative of those people who believe life wouldn’t go on without their significant other. They are also known for wanting privacy and sitting close to each other. These things are associated with couples in love.

There is another legend that says Venus holds doves as sacred creatures due to their absolute loyalty to their mate.

Love knots represent everlasting love. They have no beginning or end and are made out of loops. They are said to have originated from Arabic countries where women would give them to men as secret messages of love and devotion. The messages on the knots were read by spinning the loops round and round.

There is also a legend that sailors started love knots due to their skills with fishnets and how they often perfected the art of making knots.

Lace is associated with romance because maidens often dropped their lace handkerchiefs in front of men they desired and the men were obliged to pick it back up. Women would also give lace favors to the men they loved if they were going to be separated for long periods of time. Lace came to be seen as a tool that fostered romance and love.

These traditions are deeply rooted in a history of love and romance. We have added to this collection of symbols through modern day customs of card giving, jewelry purchasing, and chocolate eating. No matter how you show your love this Valentine’s Day, simply showing it is all that matters. n