Throughout time, many different symbols have been used for a special Valentine. Maybe an old tradition would be fun to bring back to life!
Ribbons and frills have been associated with romance since the days of knighthood when a knight rode into battle with a ribbon or scarf given him by his lady fair. The dictionary states that the word “Lace” comes from a Latin word meaning to “snare” or “noose”.
Cupid was one of the gods of mythology. In Latin, the word Cupid means “desire.” Cupid is typically represented as a chubby, naked, winged boy or youth with a mischievous smile. He possessed a bow with a quiver of arrows by which he transfixed the hearts of youths an and maidens.Cherubs are descendants of Cupid. They are depicted as lovable little winged creatures without arrows and quivers. Cherubs were typically not mischievous like Cupid.
The Rose. The rose, which is undoubtedly the most popular flower in the world, speaks of love and has been the choice of lovers in every century. If you rearrange the letters of the word rose you get Eros, the god of Love.
Hands. A lady’s hands was a favorite decoration that depicted “femininity.” Its beauty was enhanced by adding a frilly cuff and a jeweled ring on the third finger. Clasped hands represent those of Queen Victoria and prince Albert and were symbols of the friendship between their countries of Germany and England.
Turtle Doves and Love Birds
“Oft have I heard both youth and virgin say
Birds choose their mates, and couples too, this day;
But by their flight I never can divine,
When I shall couple with my Valentine.”
It was thought that birds chose their mate for the year on February 14. Doves and pigeons mate for life and therefore were used as a symbol of “fidelity.”
Puzzik-circa 1840. A puzzik is a quaint sort of homemade valentine which was a sort of puzzle that the receiver had to solve. Not only did she have to decipher the message but also to figure how to refold the paper once it was opened. The order of the verses was usually numbered, and the recipient had to twist the folds to determine what was being said.
Daguerreotype-popular from 1840 to the Civil War. An old-time tintype was found in the center of a card surrounded by an ornamented wreath. Another type was a “Mirror Valentine” which had a small mirror placed in the center to reflect the happy face of the receiver.
Rebus. Although it had many forms, a rebus usually was a romantic verse written in ink with certain words omitted and illustrated with a picture. Meant to be a riddle, they were not always easy to decipher.
Watch Papers. Popular when men carried pocket watches, these were made to fit the back or front of a pocket watch.