In ancient Greek myth it was a bird of Athena which represented the renewal of life.
In the Bible it was a dove released from the Ark by Noah which returned with an olive branch to show that the Biblical flood was over. Ever since, the dove has symbolized deliverance and God's forgiveness.
According to legend, the devil and witches can turn themselves into any bird shape except the dove.
In ancient Japan the dove was sacred to Hackiman the god of war, but it was a dove with a sword which announced the end to war.
Universally recognized as a symbol of peace, the dove transcends all cultures and traditions.
"In Christianity, the dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and the soul.
"In the Chinese culture, the dove is associated with longevity and peace in the next life.
"In many cultures, the dove is associated with love, innocence, tenderness and purity.
Doves appear on the tombs of many cultures for various reasons. On Christian tombs, the dove bearing the olive branch stands for the triumphal obtainment of Christ's peace through martyrdom or virtue. In this case, the olive branch not only represents the peace of God, but also takes on the victory symbolism of the palm branch. Both Slavs and Greeks pictured the human soul as a dove which explains why doves are found on pagan monuments in these and other areas. Doves with human heads may be found on Greek tombs. St. Benedict is said to have seen the soul of his twin sister Scholastica fly to heaven in the form of a dove. Because of this incident, the dove has become an attribute of St. Benedict, St. Scholastica, and the Benedictine nuns.
The dove is painted over the heads or perched on the shoulders of those believed to be inspired in their prayers or writings by the Holy Spirit. Saints represented in this way include St. Gregory the Great and St. Catherine of Siena.
Victorian Cemetery Symbolism
Dove - An important symbolic animal in Christianity representing the Holy Spirit. The white dove is referred to in the story of baptism of Christ. "And John bore record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him" (Bible, John 1:32). The descending dove is a very common motif on grave memorials. Seven doves are representative of the seven spirits of God or the Holy Spirit in its sevenfold gifts of grace. Purity, devotion, Divine Spirit. When shown with an Olive Sprig it means Hope or Promise. -
Dove - Purity, Devotion, Innocence, Gentleness, Holy Spirit
Dove, flying - Resurrection
Dove and Olive Branch - Peace
Dove with seven stars above and ribbon with the letters D.O.R - Daughters of the Revolution
There's a reason "dove" rhymes with "love!"
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, our thoughts turn to the dream of meeting that special someone. The "one" who we will live happily ever after with, or so the story goes. And, yes, sometimes we actually do meet that person and live the life of happiness and completeness, growing old together and forming a unique bond filled with love and tenderness. But wouldn't it be nice if we were ALL assured that we would find our perfect mate and stay together for the rest of our lives? It may sound like a fairy tale, but for one species of birds it's actually a way of life. That's right; you guessed it...the dove.
Love that lasts a lifetime
Throughout the world, the dove is known as a symbol of peace and love. And it's no wonder that this charming, graceful bird is noted as such, as a pair of doves will become betrothed to one another and create a beautiful connection that can only be broken by death.
An example of this strong connection can be seen in the fact that two doves in love will develop specific songs to communicate only with each other, whether they are together in the same enclosure or only within hearing distance of one another. Jeff Dowling, author of "Diamond Doves: A guide to color and care" says, "I feel the purpose for this song is mainly recognition, saying "I'm here and all is well." I find it used from male to female or female to male when they are in different parts of the cage or flight." Could anything be sweeter?
Until death do they part...
However, as romantic as the love of doves may seem, once one of the pair goes off to that big bird's nest in the sky, the widowed dove does not spend as much time mourning for his or her lost mate as one would think. In fact, it doesn't take long for the remaining dove to go out and find spouse number two! Garrie Landry, owner of Acadiana Aviaries, home to thousands of birds of a variety of species, in Franklin, Louisiana says, "Most doves generally do mate for life. However, what many people fail to realize is that if one partner dies, the other does not pine away and die of loneliness. Quite the contrary--a single dove seeks a new mate almost immediately and once again, until death do they part."
But before you go criticizing the loyalty and dedication of the actions of a bird that has just lost the "love of his life," it's important to note that a single dove does not fare very well by him or herself. Dowling explains that "Doves are not a solitary bird; they have a great need for companionship and a desire to be in contact with their mate or partner." Therefore, it should not be at all surprising that a dove that has just lost his or her counterpart would go and seek a new one right away.
Many kinds of birds are used in Christian symbolism. The first to be so employed was the Dove; it stood for the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, for when Jesus was baptized the Holy Ghost descended in bodily shape as a dove upon Him (Luke, iii, 22). It was also used as a symbol of peace, because a dove brought to Noah a bough of an olive-tree as a sign that the deluge of wrath was at an end. In early Christian art the Apostles and the faithful were generally represented as doves, the first because they were the instruments of the Holy Ghost, carrying peace to the world; the second because in their baptism they received the gift of reconciliation, entering with the dove (the Holy Ghost) into the Ark of God, the Church. Sometimes in symbolical writing it stands for rest: Who will give me wings like a dove, and I will be at rest? -- (Ps., liv, 7); often for simplicity, innocence, and love: Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves (Matt., x, 16); Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled; One is my dove, my perfect one. (Cant., v, 2; vi, 8.)
The only doves suitable for Dove Releases are well trained Rock Doves, otherwise known as Homing Pigeons. Homing pigeons are far from the pigeon at the park or what is referred to as the Feral Pigeon. Homing pigeons are to Feral Pigeons as thoroughbred horses are to plow horses. Homing pigeons can find their way home from distances as far as 1000 miles away.
A homing pigeon is a breed of rock dove that's trained to return swiftly, as fast as 70 mph, to the place it identifies as home. Blessed with amazing homing instincts and stamina, homing pigeons typically race distances of between about 100 to 600 miles. The ones that have been particularly successful can cost tens of thousands of dollars, however, a poor flier can be bought for, well, chicken feed.
The most common type of Homing Pigeons are used for racing. They are commonly referred to as "The Race Horses of the Sky". Most races in the United States only fly up to 600 miles. The incredible thing is, often times the birds will make it home within that same day or the day after! The farthest distance ever recorded for a homing pigeon was 7,200 miles, from Arras, France, to Saigon, Vietnam. The flight took 24 days. Homing pigeons have been raised domestically for over 4000 years. Racing is a popular sport worldwide. It is actually the National sport in Belgium.
Pigeons have been used for centuries in racing contests and to carry messages. In 43 B.C., Brutus used homing pigeons to communicate with his consuls during a siege by Mark Antony. In World War II, a homing pigeon named GI Joe, was credited with saving thousands of lives racing 20 miles in 20 minutes to deliver a message calling off bombing raids of a town captured just hours before by allied troops. Not only are these birds fast, they don't wither when under enemy attack either. On Guadalcanal, Blackie Holligan was released into a barrage of enemy fire. He showed up long overdo, bloody from shrapnel, but still holding on to his message.(See the National Geographic, April 1947 article entitled "The Flying Telegraph" for interesting stories about homing pigeons.)
There are many varieties of Rock Doves. All Homing Pigeons, Turtlenecks, Mourning Doves, Ring-necks and Diamond Doves are Rock Doves. However, not all Rock Doves are Homing Pigeons. This means that they could not find their way home if released in the wild. Homing Pigeons can find their way home! This is why only Homing Pigeons should be used for Dove Releases. Doves sold in pet stores should NEVER be used in Dove Releases - even if the pet store says they are Homing Pigeons. These pet store doves will only fly to the nearest tree.
Rock Doves need a dry place to live, nest and raise their offspring. They need clean, fresh food and, of course, clean water. They prefer to nest in little cubby holes. The male will bring the female nesting material and she will either accept it or reject it. This keeps them very busy! If allowed, the pairs will mate year-round, raising up to 12 pairs a year! That is 24 babies per year! Most people who raise these wonderful birds separate the pairs around the middle of the year to give them a chance to recouperate after child-rearing.
One reason that Homing Pigeons return to their homes is because of some of the following factors: - they love their homes and are well cared for and the other is because they have strong family bonds to their home, where they raise their young. Studies done with homing pigeons have shown that even when they're blindfolded they can find their way home, but when small magnets were attached to them, they became disoriented. Homing pigeons then may have the equivalent of a compass in their brains allowing them to sense magnetic fields, which would aid their direction- finding capabilities. Birds perhaps use subtle differences in polarized sunlight, various landmarks and, at night, star patterns and motions to calibrate their "compasses." Typically, most homing pigeons do not fly at night unless they are trained to do so.
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