|Saturday, March 2, 2002||
And the romance goes on...
not difficult to figure out the connection between the heart and
Valentine’s Day. The heart, after all, was thought in ancient times
to be the source of all emotions. Which explains expressions like ‘the
heart of the matter’ and ‘heart of the city’. Etymology tells us
nothing much about the relationship between the heart and the
emotions. We do know that the word comes from the Old English heorte,
related to the Dutch hart and German herz and derived
from the Latin corda and Greek kardia. Where the last
two roots come from and what they mean is pure speculation. There is a
theory that heart is related to the Sanskrit hrdya, meaning
chest or heart, again just a speculation. Later, the heart came to be
associated only with the emotion of love. It’s not clear when the
valentine heart shape became the symbol for the heart, as we all know
that it doesn’t look like that! It is speculated that the heart
symbol as it is used today, to signify romance or love, came from
early attempts by people to draw an organ they’d never seen. A peep
into some of the other valentine symbols and their origins is an
interesting exercise, worth the effort.
The use of the "X" sign to represent a kiss has an intriguing history. This tradition started with the medieval practice of allowing those who could not write to sign documents with an "X". This was done before witnesses, and the signee placed a kiss upon the "X" to show sincerity. This is how kiss came to be synonymous with the letter "X", and how the "X" came to be commonly used at the end of letters as kiss symbols — leading to ‘sealed with a kiss’. It is believed by some that "X" was chosen as a variation on the cross symbol. Or, it might have been a pledge in the name of Christ, since the "X" or Chi symbol is the second letter of the Greek alphabet and has been used by the church to represent Christ.
Four words in Hindi are used
synonymously for heart: dil, hrdaya, man and ji. A peep
into their origins reveals that in Sanskrit, their language of origin, dil
is the pulsating organ made of flesh and blood, hrdaya is the
abstract heart, man is the mind and ji , related to jiva,
is the life or soul.