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Celtic Symbols of Friendship

Are you interested in knowing about Celtic symbols of friendship? Some of the main symbols of friendship and love are the Claddagh, dolphin, dog, luckenbooth, mistletoe, and the Welsh love spoon. Knots can also show friendship and love, like the lover's knot or Serch Bythol. Read on for more information about these symbols.

Celtic Symbols of Friendship

Most symbols for friendship also represent love, probably because love starts with friendship. One of the main Celtic symbols of friendship and love is the Claddagh. It originated in the 16th century with a fisherman who was going to be married soon. While off the coast of Ireland, his boat capsized and he was kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery. He spent many years in Africa but eventually escaped and returned home. When he arrived, he was happy to see his betrothed was still in love with him. He designed a ring that had a heart, two hands on either side of the heart, and a crown. The heart stood for love, the hands for friendship, and the crown for loyalty. They married and settled in the town of Claddagh. It has been used over the years as a wedding ring but can be worn as a friendship ring as well.

In Celtic tradition, a dolphin represents friendship, luck, and intelligence. Dolphins were revered by seafaring people and considered the "watchers of the water" and were guardians of anything water-related. They may also have been considered lucky because they were more often seen during good weather.

A dog symbolizes loyalty for many people, but it also represents the friendship between man and animal. Dogs were considered good luck and their image is found in many places, like in decor or on clothing. Dogs were highly regarded because of their companionship and usefulness.

Love Symbols

As explained earlier, most Celtic symbols of friendships also represent love. Here are some of the objects and knots that symbolize love.

Luckenbooth -- This is a brooch given to a couple when they got engaged or married that represents love. They used to be sold in small booths that were locked at night and their name comes from these locked booths. Sometimes they have a heart with a crown on it and other times there are two or more hearts. Also, sometimes gems are inlaid on it or words of love engraved on it. After the marriage, they are considered lucky as they will ease the pain of childbirth and ensure breast milk flows well. If they are attached to a baby's shawl, they offer protection from being taken by the fairies. Most often, the ones that are made today have two hearts with a crown on top.

Mistletoe -- Ancient people thought that mistletoe had magical properties. Since it grew in trees, which were sacred, and had no roots connecting it to the ground, people believed mistletoe to be the sacred plant of the sun. During winter solstice rites, it was used for both healing and protection. When it was hung in a home, it was believed to hold in the love of the household. People would replace it from time to time, so the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe was born.

Welsh Love Spoon -- This carved wooden spoon was given to a girl by her suitor. It showed the girl's father that the suitor could provide for her. Sometimes it had symbols carved on it, like a heart for love, a cross for faith, a lock for security, and a bell for marriage. Sailors would carve these while they are away at sea so many times an anchor was carved into them.

Celtic Knots

The lover's knot is also called the sailor's knot and is made by weaving two ropes together. Then the ends are joined together, making a continuous loop that represented unending love.

Serch Bythol is a knot made of two triskeles. Triskeles are knots with three parts that represent the mind, body, and soul of a person. Weaving two together shows the two people coming together in mind, body, and soul.