There’s no doubt about it. The heart is one of the most universally recognised symbols of love.
But it’s not the only one.
Symbols of love exist in different shapes and forms. Wouldn’t it be more interesting to express it with one of these rather than the stereotypical heart shape card and chocolates?
Here are some lesser known ancient and cultural symbols and some fun suggestions of how to incorporate them into your Valentines celebrations this year.
To the Celts, the harp represents the bridge of love, connecting heaven and earth. In Norway and Iceland, harp strings were depicted as a ladder, symbolising the ascent to higher states of love and a pathway to paradise. It was also famously played by King David to express his devotion and love to the Lord.
Let its soothing melodies provide the perfect ambience while you’re relaxing or dining with your beau.
The Maple Leaf
The maple leaf is an ancient symbol of love used in Japan and China. North American settlers used to place maple leaves at the foot of their beds to ward off demons, arouse pleasure and promote peaceful sleep. In North American, the stork weaves maple branches in nests – hence, the maple became a symbol of love and fertility.
Get the day started with sweet beginnings. Lace the breakfast pancakes, fruit or muesli with a generous drizzle of the golden nectar that the tree produces…irresistible maple syrup.
In early Greek history, the apple was prominent in courtship as well as the rites and customs of marriage. Indeed, Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, offered Apples to woo Aphrodite and win her love.
In Norse mythology, gods and goddesses regularly ate golden apples from Idun’s garden to ward off diseases and old age, and to remain beautiful and youthful.
In China, the apple represents peace and apple blossoms signify adoration.
Put your own twist on the old saying and make your apple a day a bit more indulgent. Transform it into a delectable after dinner treat: comforting apple pie, fancy tart or enticing strudel… the choice is yours!
The Sea Shell
To the Romans, seashells represented regeneration. In Roman mythology, Venus, the Goddess of love and fertility, is often depicted emerging from a scallop shell after being made from the foam the shell carried ashore.
Ancient Hindus associated the conch shell with awakening the hearts of the faithful and calling out to those with love-filled hearts. The Native Americans have also used seashells to symbolise fertility and love.
While the conservationist in me advises you to leave those shells where they belong in nature, there’s nothing to stop you from recreating its beautiful form. Think shell shaped chocolates, ice cream, candles… this is the perfect time to get those creative skills into play.
The Celtic Love Knot
The Celtic love knot is composed of two interlocking hearts, and is said to represent the union of two into one and eternal love. It’s believed that they were exchanged in much the same way as rings are in modern culture.
Create some mystique by tying a personalised message to your loved one in a knot in their clothes – a great alternative to buying a card.
So tell me, will you have a change of heart this year?
Think outside the box and make it your most memorable and meaningful Valentines yet!