This Photo taken from my apartment
reminds me of heart shaped swans
often associated with Valentine's Day.
Crystal Swans and a Rosette
Swans are birds of the family Anatidae, which also includes geese and ducks. Many of the cultural aspects refer to the Mute Swan of Europe. Perhaps the best known story about a swan is The Ugly Duckling fable. The story centres around a duckling who is mistreated until it becomes evident he is a swan and is accepted into the habitat. He was mistreated because real ducklings are, according to many, more attractive than a cygnet, yet cygnets become swans, which are very attractive creatures.
Swans are often a symbol of love or fidelity because of their long-lasting monogamous relationships.
Swans feature strongly in mythology. In Greek mythology, the story of Leda and the Swan recounts that Helen of Troy was conceived in a union of Zeus disguised as a swan and Leda, Queen of Sparta. Other references in classical literature include the belief that upon death the otherwise silent Mute Swan would sing beautifully - hence the phrase swan song; as well as Juvenal's sarcastic reference to a good woman being a "rare bird, as rare on earth as a black swan", from which we get the Latin phrase rara avis, rare bird.
The Irish legend of the Children of Lir is about a stepmother transforming her children into swans for 900 years. The swan has recently been depicted on an Irish commemorative coin.
In Norse mythology, there are two swans that drink from the sacred Well of Urd in the realm of Asgard, home of the gods. According to the Prose Edda, the water of this well is so pure and holy that all things that touch it turn white, including this original pair of swans and all others descended from them. The poem Volundarkvida, or the Lay of Volund, part of the Poetic Edda, also features swan maidens.
In the Finnish epic Kalevala, a swan lives in the Tuoni river located in Tuonela, the underworld realm of the dead. According to the story, whoever killed a swan would perish as well. Jean Sibelius composed the LemminkŠinen Suite based on Kalevala, with the second piece entitled Swan of Tuonela (Tuonelan joutsen). Today, five flying swans are the symbol of the Nordic Countries and the whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus) is the national bird of Finland.
In Latin American literature, the Nicaraguan poet RubŽn Dar’o (1867-1916) consecrated the swan as a symbol of artistic inspiration by drawing attention to the constancy of swan imagery in Western culture, beginning with the rape of Leda and ending with Wagner's Lohengrin. Dario's most famous poem in this regard is Blason - "Coat of Arms" (1896), and his use of the swan made it a symbol for the Modernismo poetic movement that dominated Spanish language poetry from the 1880s until the First World War. Such was the dominance of Modernismo in Spanish language poetry that the Mexican poet Enrique Gonzalez Martinez attempted to announce the end of Modernismo with a sonnet provocatively entitled, TuŽrcele el cuello al cisne - "Wring the Swan's Neck" (1910).
Swans are revered in many religions and cultures, especially Hinduism. The Sanskrit word for swan is 'hamsa' or 'hans'a, and it is the vehicle of many deities like the goddess Saraswati. It is mentioned several times in the Vedic literature, and persons who have attained great spiritual capabilities are sometimes called Paramahamsa ("Great Swan") on account of their spiritual grace and ability to travel between various spiritual worlds.
In the Vedas, swans are said to reside in the summer on Lake Manasarovar and migrate to Indian lakes for the winter, eat pearls, and separate milk from water in a mixture of both.
Hindu iconography typically shows the Mute Swan. It is wrongly supposed by many historians that the word hamsa only refers to a goose, since today swans are no longer found in India, not even in most zoos. However, ornithological checklists clearly classify several species of swans as vagrant birds in India.
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