These birds are the true Doves of Antiquity; they are white homing pigeons and were probably first domesticated over 10,000 years ago.
Doves are a universal symbol of peace. Throughout many different cultures they are also regarded as a symbol of amorous affection, fruitfulness, love and even wealth.
Some of the earliest images of the sacred white dove have been found adorning Sumerian temples from 3,000 B.C. The doves were used in ceremonies; weddings, funerals, and religious events in much the same way as we do today.
The Greeks regularly used pigeons to carry messages, particularly the results of the Olympic Games to the various city-states.
The Egyptians would release 4 doves during the Pharaoh’s coronation procession. They also used pigeons to carry messages up and down the Nile regarding flood levels. Flood waters brought a renewal of the land and the people rejoiced.
King Solomon is said to have made use of a pigeon post for critical messaging to his armies and gold mines, and archaeologists have found underground pigeon coops in Israel from this period housing as many as 120,000 birds.
The dove is the most mentioned animal in the bible. In Genesis after the flood, a dove returns to Noah with an olive branch in its beak, bringing evidence of a new covenant with God. In Christianity the dove represents the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus as dove when he was baptized at the River Jordan and again at the cross.
Today, it is still common in many different parts of the world to release doves at weddings and funerals. Two religious events we often asked to fly is the Blessing of the Waters and the Pentecost.