There are hundreds of countries all around the world, and many have lost what it means to be traditional and cultural. Sure, you can visit the Upper East Side in New York City and climb to the top of the Empire State Building, but do you know the history that lies underneath the large island? Would you know the traditional symbols of Tokyo? Or perhaps the cultural norms of Dubai? Much of the time, these countries and cities are covered in urbanization, they forget who they truly are. Yet, if you travel to Ireland, you’ll see that the whole place is teeming with culture, tradition and symbols – including the rainbow.
What is a rainbow?
You don’t need to be an Irish local to know what a rainbow is because most of us have seen one at least once in our lives. This natural phenomenon is caused by the dispersion, reflection and refraction of light in the water droplets in the atmosphere and causes a spectrum of light in different colors to be viewed by the observer – which is where the nursery rhyme got its inspiration. Contrary to popular belief, the rainbow is not always an arc. In fact, it is a full circle, but can only be viewed as an arc.
Rainbows in culture
Although we normally see rainbows after a rainstorm, rainbows also have a major place in culture, art and religion. In Greco-Roman mythology, the rainbow was thought to be the path between Heaven and Earth, while Hindu religion, the rainbow is believed to be the incarnation of Vishnu. However, one of the most prominent cultural references comes from Ireland. In the Emerald Isle, rainbows hold a huge amount of importance and are a symbol of the Irish way of life.
Rainbows in Ireland
When most people think of Ireland, they often think of the sneaky green Leprechaun. These mythical creatures are known for their wily trickster ways, as well as their ability to grant people three wishes. These creatures are also known for their love of gold and tend to hide their pots of gold at the end of these rainbows. However, this is just another trick up their sleeves – as there is no ‘end’ of the rainbow. Where their pot is supposedly stored is actually unreachable to the average human. While the rainbow is not itself a symbol if Ireland, the Leprechauns are, and the two are commonly linked together.
Getting to the end of the Rainbow
Although it is impossible to reach the end of the rainbow, the rainbow has since become an Irish symbol of hope. As most people hope to one day find the riches in the pot, others use the rainbow to signify fulfillment, desire and purpose. They use this imagery as a way to reach the land beyond, and the land that holds all of their hopes and dreams.
There are hundreds of symbols in Ireland, but one of the most important images in the Irish culture is the rainbow. Although largely associated with the Leprechaun, they also stand on their own two feet as symbols in themselves…