Love is in the air! In honour of Saint Valentine, we have curated a list of our romantic favourites, inspired by different cultures around the Majority World. From South American poetry to Malian photography, here’s the inspiration behind iconic gestures of love on this special day.
Beloved Chilean poet and Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda published a book of poetry in 1952. The romantic poetry initially shocked 1950s Chilean society due to the intimate and graphic details in his romantic prose. The love poems have since been celebrated all over the world, due to his elegant and dreamy prose, inspired by the seas, landscapes, and his experiences in love.
Here’s a teaser…
‘As if you were on fire from within.
The moon lives in the lining of your skin.’
Pablo Neruda. Photo: Poetry Foundation
India’s ‘Monument of Love’ was built in the 17th century by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a tribute to his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth. The Taj Mahal is a symbol of “eternal love,” as well as an extraordinary feat of Muslim architecture in India. Made from white marble, the Taj Mahal changes colour throughout the day depending on the sunlight. This beautiful symbol of love in Agra, India is truly a sight to behold and one that should be on your travel bucket list.
Close-up of the architectural details on the Taj Mahal. Photo: @inbedwith.me
Malian photographer Malick Sidibé captured many iconic moments in Mali in the 1960s with his black-and-white film camera.
As Mali transitioned from part of the former French colonial empire to an independent nation, Sidibé captured the next generation of Mali: youth culture experiencing the music and fashion in the nightlife of Bamako. His famous photograph, ‘Christmas Eve’ caught an intimate moment between a young couple, dancing barefoot on the roof of the Happy Nightclub, their eyes fixed on each other.
‘Christmas Eve.’ Photo: Artsy
Suzuki Harunobu’s print ‘Lovers Walking in the Snow’ showcases the beauty and simplicity of two lovers walking together under the protection of an umbrella. Made from a wood stamp and then printed onto paper, Harunobu was an expert in creating polychrome prints, or nishiki-e as they are called in Japanese.
The couple are shown in the ‘ai ai gasa’ pose which translates literally as ‘love love umbrella’ the ultimate Japanese symbol of love. For what is more romantic that walking under an umbrella in the rain with your loved one?
‘Lovers Walking in the Snow’ by Suzuki Harunobu. Image: Met Museum
A city brimming with history, culture, and architecture, Istanbul is emerging as a new destination for friends, couples, newlyweds. It’s the New City of Love.
The famous sunsets of Istanbul
From the colourful spice markets to the Hagia Sophia, a glorious historical building that was once a cathedral and then later turned into a mosque, Istanbul has it all. If you’re blessed to visit Istanbul, enjoy aromatic Turkish cafe at any of the beautiful cafes and be sure to take in the sunsets.
The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. A former church that is now a mosque. Photo: @inbedwith.me
What are the symbols of love in your culture? How do you celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments!