Top 18 Family Symbols Throughout History

By Sapana Bishwakarma | 15 September 2023 04:08 AM

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Family is the pillar of our strength that boosts our confidence and makes us feel loved. Every term of the family doesn't represent the blood ties but some refer to the people you love, like close friends who love us unconditionally. In this way, we can share our emotions and happiness with them.

The following top 18 symbols include figures or manmade symbols that describe the bond of family. They can represent the feel at ease or you can imagine them to feel closer to your family.

1. Family Tree

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A family tree is also known as a genealogy or pedigree chart. It represents the family relationships in a conventional tree structure. It refers to a membership of certain groups and family relationships.

These trees reflect the oldest generations at the top and the younger generations at the bottom. Additionally, this chart can help to trace genetics and family health concerns. This is a good way to get the children's interest so they will want to learn about ancestors and preserve family stories.

2. Yggdrasil or the World Tree

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Yggdrasil or the World Tree is a huge and central sacred tree in Norse cosmology that includes all Nine Worlds that are part of the ancient Norse view of the cosmos.

An ash tree covers the world of humans and the world of the gods, nestling among the branches and roots. These names are reflected in large trees that have spiritual and religious significance and that contain one or several words.

3. Rhyton and Patera

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Rhyton is an ancient Greek drinking horn that is made up of pottery or metal. It has a base in the form of the head of a woman or animal. Similarly, Patera means a shallow ceramic or metal libation bowl that has no handles and no feet. 

In the ancient Greek religion, Patera is used for serving food or drink at dinner parties or for pouring libations at religious ceremonies. On the other hand, rhyton was mainly used for pouring liquid offerings during religious rituals. Both were related to the family and functions which symbolize the drinking material of ancestry. 

4. Claddagh and Celtic Knot

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Claddagh is a traditional Irish ring in which a heart shape represents love, the crown stands for loyalty, and two clasped hands symbolize friendship. Similarly, Celtic knots are used for decoration and are mostly known for their adaption for use in the ornamentation of Christian monuments and manuscripts.

These symbols are very popular among the Irish and Irish Americans used as cultural symbols in friendship, engagement, and wedding rings. In general, it is regarded as a token of love and friendship with the crown for loyalty.

5. Elephants

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The largest living animals are found in three living species including the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Asian elephant. In Asia, they are used as working animals and also used for entertainment.

Elephants can also be seen in human culture and have appeared in folklore, religion, art, literature, and popular culture. These animals are depicted as motifs in Hindu and Buddhist shrines and temples. They are also described as family, royalty, and wisdom because of are highly family-oriented animals.

6. Dogs

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A domestic animal dog symbolizes protection, guidance, loyalty, faithfulness, alertness, and love. Dogs were represented as the goddess of healing and medicine in ancient Mesopotamia. Besides that, they were also used as emblems of magical protection in the Neo-Assyrian.

In East Asia Japan, China, and Korea, pets often seem like kind protectors and are used as guard dogs. These animals are also associated with the Greek goddess Hecate and they represent faithfulness in Christianity. 

7. Ankh

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Ankh also symbolizes the key of life which is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol used to show the word life. The Egyptian includes Ankh as the three-term such as mirror, floral bouquet, and life.

It came into widespread use in Western culture and was featured as a symbol of African cultural identity. The symbol also represents a group of religious movements based on the religion of ancient Egypt, Kemetism. In general, it is often featured in Egyptian art as a physical object reflecting either life or related substances such as water or air.

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8. Sunflower

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Sunflower is among the flowers that are regarded as the symbol of family. It is commonly grown as a crop for its edible oily seeds. It is also used as livestock forage and domestic gardens as well. 

The flower was grown near the home in the belief that it would protect the home from malaria. It is also used by the Zune people as the blossoms ceremonially for anthropic worship. The oil seed flower was worshipped by the Incas due to its view as a symbol of the Sun. Like this, the tall and bright flowers have many connections to our family and community.

9. Chrysanthemum

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The flowering plant is also known as mums or chrysanths which are native to East Asia and northeastern Europe. The flower has a different meaning in the different countries. United States describes the flower as positive and cheerful.

It describes death and is used for funerals or graves, while in China, Japan, and Korea East Asia white Chrysanthemum refers to adversity and grief. Likewise, it represents honesty in some other countries. Chrysanthemum is used as a symbol of vitality and longevity in various Asian cultures. It can related to the family relationship in the long-lasting bond.

10. Roses

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Roses are often described as a romantic love, especially in certain colors like red, and pink. The other color of roses including white and yellow reflects familial love, warmth, and purity. 

Simply said, the bouquet of mixed roses shows the diverse of bonds and emotions within a family. In addition, it also symbolize the harmony and gentleness which would be a great gift to show love and affection to a family member or kind friend. Overall, the flower is the mixed of strongest feeling for ever occasion and emotion.

11. Apple Trees

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Apple trees explore the feminine aspect of the family and the branches of these trees can be considered as a symbol of family and our capacity to protect one another. It has great meaning as a whole tree that helps to produce small birds from the branches of this tree.

In this case, it is considered a sign of the ability of a person to show forth their feminine nature and to also best the best at it. Additionally, it can also connect to the community that exists between family and always standing by one another even when time is hard.

12. Japanese Stewartia

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Japanese Stewartia refers to a small to medium-sized deciduous flowering tree with multi-season interest. It is native to Japan and Korea and is typically found in mountain forests. A multistemmed and pyramidal to oval shape with low branches appears from June to August.

The flowering tree can be regarded as a sign of the changing nature of the trees and is related to making a very big change in our lives. As a big family, we need to be ready to accept changes and must embrace one another at all times. They are displayed by the branches of this tree and this connects to our cooperation and relation to nature.

13. Othala

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Othala is also called a rune which originated from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic languages. Nowadays, Othala is just a symbol that is rarely seen as a gift from Odin and is carried in the belief of great power and energy.

The symbol (ᛟ) refers to the heritage which means the family estate, ancestry, and inheritance. In this meaning, it reflects the love for one's home from the self and ancestral blessings. The term odal also reflects the inheritance rights to daughters against males from the immediate family.

14. Triquetra

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Triquetra is also regarded as the Trinity Knot which brings a degree of unity. However, there were no direct symbols for a family in the Celtic culture. 

Moving through the symbol, it symbolizes the three main aspects of spiritual life including the heart, the mind, and the soul. It is found in the Irish culture jewelry that is used as the wedding or engagement rings. On the other hand, it refers to the family cooperation and eternal blood of love shared between the members.

15. Green

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Colors can also be family symbols and the green color in nature reflects certain aspects of family relations. This color describes the family as nurturing, development, growth, hope, and renewal. The gender-neutral color refers to both men and women.

We can see the color in forests, healthy leaves, and grass which can be seen almost everywhere in nature which can make people feel secure, relaxed, and comfortable. Hence, the color describes an individual's relationship with oneself, other people, and the environment.

16. Blue

Source : schemecolor

The color blue represents the sea and sky which means freedom, peace, serenity, and wisdom which is needed in human relationships. It promotes harmony and cooperation among the members.

If you are looking at calm oceans and peaceful skies, it features the feeling of relaxation both physically and mentally. It reflects the similar feelings that you get when you are at home with your family members.

17. Bald Eagles

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The bald eagles are found in North America. These birds are not bald but their name derives from an older meaning of the word white-headed. It is also regarded as the national bird of the United States of America.

The eagles are often known for their strength and ruthlessness as well as family values. It represents the symbol of family as they care about their unborn babies and both parents care for the newborn eaglets attentively as our parents do. For example, the mother eagles look after them and the father brings them all food.

18. Peacock

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The bird named Peacock has been honored for its beauty and symbolism. It is the life of majesty and strength that is represented in various stories and also has inspired numerous symbols of royalty and immortality.

It was the goddess of women, marriage, family, and motherhood in Greek mythology. Peacocks were known as the birds of paradise devoted to Hera and was the protector of married women. It was not regarded as an animal to the Greeks until the time of Alexander's eastward conquests. Overall, it symbolizes the connection to the divine.

Additional Symbols That Represent Family

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There are many other symbols of family in many culture, locations, and traditions worldwide apart from the most popular ones mentioned above. Below, we have listed around 12 of the lesser known family symbols you might want to know about.

19. Six-Petal Rosette (Slavic Religion)

20. Hunab Ku (Mayan)

21. The Family Circle (Native Americans)

22. Protection Circle (Native Americans)

23. Dragon and Phenix (China)

24. Abusua Pa (West Africa)

25. Hearth (Europe)

26. Rattle (Ancient Egypt)

27. Kitchen Stove (China)

28. Heraldry (West)

29. Mon (Japan)

30. Red Triangle (Universal)