Valentine’s Day started as a commercial holiday in 1913. Hallmark cards printed their first Valentine’s card that year. Valentine’s Day roots go back much further. In ancient times, there was the festival of Lupercalia which was held on February 14th. This was a pagan holiday that ultimately transformed into Valentine’s Day. The following are symbols from Valentine’s Day.
Symbol of sexuality, love, romance
The heart was one of the first commercialized Valentine’s symbols. The heart symbol itself predates Valentine’s Day and is known in ancient cultures. The heart was not originally associated with love. The heart symbol came from the inverted triangle symbol. This symbol represented sexuality and feminine power. Later the heart was used to symbolize romance and love
Color Red Symbol
Symbol of blood, arousal, sexuality, anger, lust.
The color red is used around Valentine’s day in hearts and other decorations. The origin of using the color red may date back to the ancient Lupercalia festival. During the festival, there was a blood sacrifice made of male goats and a dog. The male goats symbolized sexuality. The dog represented the she-wolf who had taken care of Romulus and Remus who later founded Rome. The color red is also identified with arousal and sexuality. When a person is angry or lustful they tend to turn red as the blood rushes to their face.
Color White Symbol
Symbol of milk of kindness, purity, chastity
The color white is also used around Valentine’s day. White lace and sometimes white hearts can be found to be used as decorations. The symbolism associated with the color white also has its roots in the ancient Lupercalia festival. The priests would smear blood from the sacrifice onto their flesh and then clean it with milked soaked clothes. The milk represented the life that the she-wolf gave to Romulus and Remus while keeping them alive by breastfeeding them. She gave them the ultimate milk of kindness. Later white came to be associated with purity and chastity.
Symbol of hope, Holy Spirit, love,
Doves have long been symbols of Valentine’s day. The dove symbol is ancient. Ancient Christians believed the dove was a symbol of hope as it brought the olive branch to Noah to let him know that God was bringing peace to the earth again. The dove is also a symbol of the Holy Spirit as a dove came down to Jesus when John baptized him. Doves also symbolize love as they mate for life and are very affectionate towards each other.
Love Knot Symbol
Symbol of everlasting love, devotion, and healing.
The Love Knot symbol comes from ancient times. Celtic love knots are symbols of everlasting love as they have no beginning or end. In ancient Arabia, lovers used love knots to send messages to each other. In an ancient handfasting ritual, couples would tie their hands together in a braid when they were married to prove their undying love and devotion to one another. The Knot of Hercules was a token of love in ancient Rome and Greece. It was two interwoven ropes that formed a strong knot. It was also a healing charm in Ancient Egypt.
Symbol of desire, lust, fear, true love.
Cupid is the god of erotic love, affection, desire, and attraction. His parents were Mars, the god of war, and Venus, the goddess of love. He had a bow and arrows for protection. Anyone shot by Cupid’s arrow with a golden tip would be filled with uncontrollable lust and desire. Cupid’s other arrow was made of lead and had a dull point. If someone was shot with this arrow they would run away. Love conquers all was the triumph of Cupid. Cupid was in love with Psyche. At one point Psyche was put under a sleeping spell that had come out of a box she had opened. Cupid put the sleep back into the box and made Psyche an equal to him. They became lovers and wed. That tale symbolizes true love. In modern times, Cupid is drawn as a cartoon-styled chubby angel with wings who shoots arrows at people to make them fall in love.
Symbol of passion, love.
The red rose originated from Aphrodite according to ancient Greeks. Aphrodite found Adonis, her lover, wounded from the piercing of a wild boar tusk. As she cried over him her tears and his blood mixed and formed the first red rose. This red rose symbolizes the passion that Aphrodite felt for Adonis. During the Victorian Era in England when shows of affection and romantic gestures had been banned, flowers were used to send messages to people. The red rose stood for love in such messages.
Symbol of nobility, sex, decadence, love, affection.
Chocolate originated in Ancient Mesoamerica. The cocoa beans were made into a chocolate drink. The beans were a status symbol and only the nobility drank chocolate. Chocolate was also a stimulant because of the naturally occurring caffeine. This stimulation made chocolate symbolic as an aphrodisiac. Cocoa beans made their way to Spain where they were again only drunk by the nobility. Chocolate was introduced to France in 1615 when the King of France married the daughter of the Spanish king. Chocolate was a symbol of decadence and wealth. With the coming of the Industrial Age, chocolate was finally able to be mass-produced into bars. Still thought of as a decadent treat, chocolates were given as gifts to people. Since they were thought of as aphrodisiacs and stimulants, chocolates were given on Valentine’s Day as a symbol of love and affection.
Symbol of love, demureness, sex, wealth, lust.
Lace was originally very hard to come by. It was hand-made and worn by royalty. The wealthy of Italy, France, England, and Spain wore lace. Lace has been used in clothing and accessories. Lace handkerchiefs were used to express love. When a woman let her handkerchief fall it meant she loved a man. If the man picked it up and kept it, it meant he loved her in return. Lace is also used in bridal veils symbolizing demureness. When lace was able to be mass-produced it was used in more stylish ways for everyone. Lace underwear and bras were produced symbolizing sexuality and lust. In modern times getting lacy underwear or negligees on Valentine’s day symbolizes sex and love.
Symbol of love, affection, sexuality.
Ribbons are a band of fabric that is produced in many different styles. There are lacy ribbons, velvet ribbons, and silk ribbons to name a few. In Medieval times, ribbons were a symbol of love and affection. Women would take ribbons out of their hair to give to knights. The knights would take the ribbon of the woman that they loved, place it on their lance, and ride into battle. Ribbons often adorn garters and other undergarments symbolizing sexuality. Ribbons have also been used in love spells over the years.