The releasing of White Doves has been a tradition since the 5th Egyptian Dynasty (4.5 thousand years ago) and is an expression of love and inspiration in many cultures.
White doves have been illustrated in art, and recorded in literature for thousands of years. An old world custom in Europe and in the South Seas was to release doves at weddings to symbolize blessings, peace, love and prosperity for a married couple. White dove releases were also used at funerals as a freeing of the spirit and at special events as representations of love and joy! White doves play a key role in life’s celebrations because of the beauty and symbolism associated with them.
The Chinese culture is steeped in the meanings of doves. In fact, they regularly practice bird releases to ward off evil. For them doves represent peace and a long life.
The dove also represents peace and love in Christian faiths. You will have seen this theme prominently displayed at Christmas. Indeed, the Bible has referenced the importance of doves many times throughout its different books.
Doves play a huge role in mythology, too. Historically they were associated with the gods and considered sacred. Ancient Greeks and Romans gave white doves as gifts. Doves are considered devoted, loyal, trustworthy and honest.
To early Greeks and Romans, a dove release was an emblem of love, devotion, and caring. It was the sacred animal of Aphrodite and Venus, the goddesses of love. In these ancient cultures, the groom would give a dove to the bride, symbolizing his promise to care for her and for the family.
For our dove releases in Brighton, Lewes, Eastbourne and Sussex areas we have special white homing birds. The Latin name for the white dove is ‘columbidae’ or ‘Rock Dove’, because they originated in the cliffs of Ireland where they made their nests in the rocks. Men developed a fascination in the white rock doves and brought them into captivity. Over generations the doves have been bred for their amazing ability to fly home from distances of up to 600 miles, not to mention their beautiful looks.
I myself have been enchanted by these magical birds and hope that you will be too!