Sometimes love between two people feels so momentous, which is why many choose to represent it with a fitting symbol. Here we’ve listed a selection of romantic symbols, all of which portray love in different cultures…
- The Ankh
- The Menat
- Swans and doves
- Love knots
- The Claddagh Ring
- Celtic love symbols
- Maple leaves
- Three leaf clover
Here’s why these symbols of love are so important, as well as a little insight into what they mean…
The most renowned and universal symbol of love is the heart. It is symbolic of the root of romantic love, affection, and care.
Sometimes referred to as crux ansata, the cross of life or the key to life, the Ankh was the most celebrated love symbol in ancient Egypt. It resembles the Christian cross that makes a loop at the top and is emblematic of life and immortality.
Robert Frost once wrote: ‘My love is like a red, red rose that’s newly sprung in June.’ Today the rose is symbolic of physical desire, passion and many other aspects of love. In Greek mythology, it is linked to the goddess of love, Aphrodite, and in Christianity, to the Virgin Mary. A white rose portrays divine love, a pink rose infatuation or romantic feelings, and a yellow rose denotes friendship. If you want to send roses to express your feelings, there are many online flower delivery services that can meet your needs. Many offer a range of delivery options too, including same and next day delivery.
This Egyptian symbol comes in the shape of a heavily beaded necklace, branded by a crescent at the front, a counterweight at the back and a heavy collar. Many wore it as it was believed to encourage potency, fertility, joy and good luck.
Swans and doves
The Roman goddess of love, Venus, and her Greek counterpart, Aphrodite, goddess of love and desire, is represented by a swan. A prevalent representation of love is two swans sitting opposite each other with their beaks touching. The shape their necks form a heart.
In Japan and China, a red maple leaf represents a lover’s emblem and acts as a reminder of the beauty of love in everyday life. It’s also reportedly used to signify the sweetness that accompanies love in the initial stages of a relationship.
Celtic love symbols
These enduring Irish love symbols boast a rich history immersed in legend, and there are several whose origins can be traced to images of love and affection. These include the following three symbols, all of which are well-known.
The Claddagh Ring
This ring showcases two hands holding a heart with a crown, and is a symbol associated with an old legend. This legend involves a fisherman who was separated from his love after being captured by the Moors to work as a slave in Africa.
The love knot is a unique Celtic love symbol, admired across the globe. It has many variations that go by different names, but most comprise two ropes joined together in a complicated knot so that the ropes seem like one.
Also known as the Shamrock, this plant is sacred to the Irish. Today, the three-leaf white clover stands as Ireland’s national symbol. Its history stems from the legend of St. Patrick, who used this sign to clarify the idea behind the holy trinity in Christianity to the Irish. It denotes feelings of faith, hope, and love and is often worn by couples due to tie the knot.
Shells were early symbols of love. Venus, the Roman Goddess of love and fertility, is often illustrated standing in a scallop shell, where she was formed from sea foam. The shell also signified rejuvenation in ancient Roman culture, while the Hindus are said to have used the conch shell to call love.
The apple is celebrated as an ancient symbol of love in numerous legends and stories. It has a variety of meanings accredited to it. From the biblical Adam and Eve and the forbidden apple to being the fruit of knowledge, the apple is renowned throughout history. Venus, the Roman goddess of love and desire, is also often showcased holding an apple. In Norse mythology, gods ate golden apples to encourage youthfulness and vitality, whilst the apple blossom is a sign of love in Chinese culture.
Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty, gave birth to Cupid, on whom the same title was given – the god of love. He is usually painted as a winged boy with a bow, and often wears a blindfold in these paintings. Some construe this to mean that love blinds you. According to legend, his bow and arrow are used to shoot a golden arrow through an individual’s heart which causes them to fall in love with the first person they set eyes on.