The symbol used to represent the heart is known throughout the western world as signifying love or affection. However, other countries have different meanings for this popular sign. Sweden associates the heart symbol with toilets and defecation!
This sign commonly used to represent the heart has actually been around for thousands of years. Have you ever wondered where it came from? The symbol, it turns out, is actually a combination of other ideograms. It incorporates the symbols for fire/flight (from the middle ages) along with its equivalent counterpart from the open sign structures. The heart symbol also incorporates the symbol which represents togetherness. These symbols can all be seen below.
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The heart symbol has a meaning amongst religions as well. Among Christians, it stands for charity and hope. Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Taoists, and Celts see the symbol as having a positive meaning as well. Some signs are commonly associated with the heart symbol. For instance, a heart with an arrow through it represents directed energy, flow, or penetration (a relationship with Cupid, god of love). The combination of the star and heart signs represent happiness or joy.
The heart symbol has so many meanings and has been around for thousands of years, but why has it become such a popular sign? It's popularity most probably stems from the romantic view that early cultures had of the heart. The heart to them was not simply a mechanical pump but the center of all thought and emotion.