Birds have long been used as symbols in cultures around the world. Their ability to fly high in the sky and soar above the worries of the world below has led to associations with freedom, joy, and transcendence. When looking for a bird that specifically symbolizes happiness, one species stands out: the bluebird.
The Bluebird as a Symbol of Happiness
The bluebird is strongly linked to happiness in multiple cultures. In ancient mythology, folklore, art, and modern media, the bluebird is frequently used to represent joy, blessing, prosperity, and optimism.
Some quick answers to questions about the bluebird as a symbol:
- Which bird is known as the bird of happiness? The bluebird.
- What does a bluebird symbolize? Happiness, joy, optimism, and blessing.
- Why is the bluebird a symbol of happiness? Its beautiful blue plumage and cheerful song are linked to joy and positivity.
Let’s explore the history behind the bluebird’s meaning and its use as an uplifting symbol of happiness across different eras and cultures.
The Bluebird in Mythology and Folklore
The association between bluebirds and gladness has its roots in mythology, legend, and folklore from various civilizations over the centuries. Here are some examples:
- In Greek mythology, the bluebird was linked to springtime and new beginnings. The return of bluebirds coincided with the renewal of the earth after winter. Their sighting was considered a good omen of happiness and prosperity ahead.
- Chinese folklore has a legend of a bluebird that only appears when good tidings are on the way. It is called the “bird of happiness” and its presence signals joyous times to come.
- Native American tribes had rich oral traditions with bluebirds featured as bearers of optimism and blessings from the spiritual world during trying times.
- Celtic myths portrayed bluebirds as messengers from fairies that carried wishes of good fortune to people.
Across these varied cultural traditions, the bluebird stands out as a resilient symbol of hope and gladness.
The Bluebird in Literature and Poetry
The bluebird has been featured extensively in literature and poetry as a sign of cheer, positive outlook, or happy events. Some examples include:
- In early American literature, bluebirds were written as symbols of the pioneering spirit. Their return to settled lands signaled the prosperity and optimism of new communities.
- Poets like Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and Henry David Thoreau referenced bluebirds in their works as muses of inspiration and joy.
- Children’s fables and fairy tales going back centuries have depicted bluebirds as bearers of good news and happiness.
The following poem by John Burroughs titled “Waiting” captures the bluebird as a beautiful symbol of hope:
Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
I rave no more ‘gainst time or fate,
For lo! my own shall come to me.
I stay my haste, I make delays,
For what avails this eager pace?
I stand amid the eternal ways,
And what is mine shall know my face.
Asleep, awake, by night or day,
The friends I seek are seeking me;
No wind can drive my bark astray,
Nor change the tide of destiny.
What matter if I stand alone?
I wait with joy the coming years;
My heart shall reap where it hath sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.
The waters know their own and draw
The brook that springs in yonder height;
So flows the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delight.
The stars come nightly to the sky;
The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
Can keep my own away from me.
The bluebird here represents hope, optimism and the arrival of joy even after difficult times, encapsulating its meaning as a symbol of happiness.
The Bluebird in Art and Decor
Visually, the bluebird’s bright plumes and association with gladness have made it a popular symbol in decorative arts. Some examples of the bluebird in art and design include:
- Bluebird motifs were common on Wedgwood pottery and porcelain tableware in the 18th and 19th centuries, evoking happiness and prosperity at the table.
- Stained glass artists sometimes feature bluebirds in window panels, with their blue hues shining cheerfully in the sunlight.
- Painters have included bluebirds in joyful scenes of gardens, meadows, and rustic country life going back to medieval illuminated manuscripts.
- Jewelry like pendants and lapel pins with bluebird designs were Victorian-era symbols of delight.
The following table summarizes some key examples of bluebirds in the decorative arts and their association with gladness:
|Connection to Happiness Meaning
|Bluebird motifs on Wedgwood plates and teacups
|Symbolized happiness and prosperity at mealtimes
|Bluebird figures in church window panels
|Joyful imagery shining in the light
|Bluebirds in Impressionist outdoor scenes
|Carefree joy, optimism
|Bluebird pins and pendants
|Worn as a talisman or sign of delight
Visually capturing the bluebird’s bright beauty, artists have cemented its symbolism of gladness across different media.
The Bluebird in Modern Culture
The bluebird remains an active symbol of happiness in contemporary culture. Some modern examples include:
- Popular music and lyrics comparing bluebirds to idealized cheer, like in the Beatles song “Across the Universe.”
- Hallmark greeting cards and products feature bluebirds to express encouragement, congratulations, and joyful sentiments.
- Social media often depicts bluebirds and their imagery as a shorthand for feeling happy and optimistic.
- Companies such as Twitter and Swarovski have bluebird logos evoking positive, cheerful associations.
Here are some ways the bluebird symbol continues appearing in today’s world:
|Link to Happiness Meaning
|The Beatles “Across the Universe” lyrics
|Metaphor for idealism and cheer
|Bluebirds on Hallmark products
|Wish of joy, encouragement
|Bluebird images and hashtags
|Conveying feeling happy
|Twitter, Swarovski logos
|Positive, cheerful associations
Through these and many other avenues, the bluebird retains its significance as an upbeat emblem of happiness in the modern world.
With its bright plumage and song symbolizing joy across mythology, poetry, art, and culture, the bluebird has cemented itself as the bird most representing happiness. Its endurance as a symbol reinforces the human longing for the uplifting feelings the bluebird evokes – optimism, blessing, prosperity, and gladness. Whenever it flies into view, whether in a decorative motif, lyrical verse, or tweeted logo, the bluebird brings its timeless message of hope and happiness.