You are currently viewing The symbolic meaning of the Dove

The symbolic meaning of the Dove

The meaning of the Dove in the Bible is the spiritual representation of innocence and the Holy Spirit. The dove is one of the best-known Christian symbols, present in the most salient moments of the Christian religion and a symbol of numerous celebrations. In the Book of Genesis, when the story of Noah and the Great Flood that covered the earth for forty days and nights is told, it was thanks to a dove that Noah was able to find the way to salvation. 

Also, the Dove is a significant symbol representing faith’s purity and the Christian soul. In this article, we want to tell you about the meaning of the dove and how it is linked to the history of the Christian religion. Keep reading!

What does the white dove represent?

We started our article by telling the story of Noah and the Great Flood. Well, after forty days and nights at the mercy of the sea, wind, and rain, just before land appeared, Noah flew a crow to receive directions on the route. The crow never returned. So he tried a lovely white dove. A few moments after being freed in flight, the dove returned carrying the famous “olive branch” to show the way to earth and salvation.

Also, the dove appears as a symbol of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. In fact, in the Baptism of Jesus, when John the Baptist celebrates the sacrament, the dove comes to rest on his head to indicate that the Holy Spirit had descended on him.

Also, in the Acts of the Apostles, the meaning of the Dove is the Holy Spirit, although when The Spirit of God appeared, this was presented in the form of tongues of fire placed on the heads of the apostles of the Christian people. In the common imagination, the dove represents purity and honesty, thanks to its white colour just like the colour of the dress worn by the pope and the bride on her wedding day.

Where does the dove symbol appear?

In the Song of Songs, the dove is used to express pure and faithful human love. This symbolic animal reminds us that God made peace with sinful humanity. Thanks to this reconciliation, a new history has begun, based on the trust of God, who does not stop before the evil done by man but continues to give proof of his love and mercy for him. With the end of the flood, we want to demonstrate God’s benevolence towards man, created in his image and perfection.

In the Old Testament, the moaning dove symbolises someone experiencing a difficult time due to illness and pain. In Psalm 55,6-7, we find it written: “fear and terror overwhelm me, and dismay overwhelms me. Who will give me wings like a dove to fly and find rest ”. In these verses, the dove expresses the people of Israel, which makes its groans of pain heard, which, like a dove, are waiting to receive salvation as a gift.

The dove is also a symbol of joy. As we read in Hosea 11:11: “They will come running like birds from Egypt, like doves from Assyria, and I will make them dwell in their houses.” But it is also a sign of naivety and simplicity. In Hosea, the meaning of the Dove also represents the tribe of Ephraim, who, lacking in intelligence (7,11:12), confided first in Egypt than in the Assyrians.

What is the meaning of a moaning dove?

The dove reminds us that God made peace with sinful humanity. From this reconciliation, the new creation began, saved from the flood. In this sense, the dove can also represent God’s merciful love for humanity.

The moaning dove symbolises the oppressed and unhappy person are searching for freedom from pain: «Fear and fear invade me and dismay overwhelms me. Who will give me wings like a dove to fly and find rest? ” (Ps 55: 6-7). Israel, which anxiously awaits salvation, which is slow in coming, makes her moans heard, which is like a dove: “The Lady is led into exile, her handmaids groan with a voice like doves, beating their breasts” (Na 2, 8; cf. Is 38,14; 59,11; Ps 74,19). 

The dove is also a symbol of joy. This significance describes the return of the exiles to their homeland: “They will come running like birds from Egypt, like doves from Assyria, and I will make them live in their homes” (Hos 11:11). In the Song of Songs, the dove expresses intensely human love, passionate and faithful and on several occasions defines the bride as ‘my dove’ (1,15; 2,14; 4,1; 5,2; 6,9).

Representation of the biblical Dove

symbolic meaning of the dove


You might also want to know.

The dove is also present in the New Testament. As a purely white animal, it was destined for sacrifice and was offered to the temple by the Israelites (Lk, 2,22-24) as an offering of the poor (Lv 1,4; 12,6.) During the purification rites. The Gospels testify to Jesus’ wrath against the dove sellers. Who began to create a trade in these symbolic birds next to the temple (Jn 12-25).

As anticipated, the dove is present in the New Testament during the baptism of Jesus on the Jordan River. The meaning is a new beginning, the year of the Lord’s mercy, which inaugurates a new creation, as on the occasion of the flood. Just as at the beginning of creation, the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. We are transforming the original chaos into life.

Jesus, too, uses the image of the dove, combined with that of the serpent: “prudent as serpents, simple as doves” (Mt 10,16). These are two virtues in some ways opposite, but both are necessary. Intelligence is not only cunning aimed at deceiving, as the serpent did in Genesis 3. But it is also helpful prudence for discovering deception and avoiding it. In the same way, simplicity is not the lack of foresight of those who expose themselves to danger. Without sense but must be understood as the trust of the child who entrusts himself to his mother. This person will never be able to betray or deceive him.

1. Why is the dove the symbol of peace?

The dove is a symbol of peace because it represents the Holy Spirit of God. And the Dove, as a symbol of peace, goes back to the story of Noah, who, in his ark with his family, survived the Flood that God, in his wrath, had brought upon humanity. It had been raining for 40 days, and Noah sent three doves flying when it finally stopped.

2. What is the symbol of doves?

The doves have embodied the symbol of peace, love, happiness, faithfulness, and peace in our culture for many centuries. It symbolises hope, new beginnings, resurrection, the Holy Trinity, and the Spirit.

From almost the dawn of Christianity, the dove, an animal with a gentle and mild nature, has been a symbol of purity and innocence, hinting at divine intervention. As a symbol of humility, it is used in various biblical episodes.

3. What does it mean when you see a white pigeon?

On a personal level, the animal spirit of the white pigeon is a positive symbol that brings love into one’s life. Seeing a white pigeon or a pair of doves can be an affirmative sign of positivity. It indicates that you have found your soul mate or will soon have the opportunity to find one.

4. What does the dove with the olive branch represent?

Therefore, the image of the dove with an olive branch in its mouth represents the symbol of peace. Genesis (8, 11) is a dove that brings the olive branch to Noah, thus showing him the end of the universal Flood and the beginning of a new era of peace between God and men. 

5. What does the dove that enters the house mean?

The entering the house of a white dove is commonly said to represent purity, love, and peace. It is also believed that sighting a white dove should be a reminder to reconnect with one’s spirituality or a loved one.

6. What does the pigeon represent?

Pigeons represent the symbol of peace and harmony. They are related to the resolution of problems or conflicts. They symbolise a person’s the kind behaviour and peaceful attitude. The calm nature of the pigeons represents creative thinking and freedom of speech.

7. What is the meaning of a dove tattoo?

The Dove in the tattoo represents the bird of Peace, Love, and Piety. As a representative of God, it is one of the most iconic and universal symbols of faith and devotion. In the beginning, the Dove was a symbol of Femininity and Fertility.


The Christian is, therefore, constantly torn between the serpent, an intelligent figure and down to earth, and the dove, which flies free in the skies. It is a game of balances between two antinomic and irreconcilable poles, which subject the Christian to continuous tension. And perhaps it is precisely this that makes the faithful active and bright. Like the light created when there are two opposite electrical poles. The light that animates faith in God. A single bare, even very powerful, cannot produce anything. And it is only thanks to this constant game that the Christian can feel rich and fruitful.

To understand what the dove symbolises in the Christian tradition, it is necessary to open the mind to multiple interpretations. Purity, simplicity, salvation, strength, ingenuity, lightness, and many meanings allow us to tell the greatness of such a defenceless animal.

Were you fascinated by the meaning of the dove behind its candid white feathers? On our site, you can find numerous accessories that portray her and that you can always keep with you or give to a loved one to remember the purity of faith in Jesus. The dove is a perfect gift for a young boy approaching Holy Confirmation as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Visit Amazon and find objects and articles for Confirmation!