Wednesday, 21 July 2010
OWLS: HARBINGERS OF GOOD OR BAD LUCK?
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ARE OWLS LUCKY OR UNLUCKY?
In many parts of the world, owls have been associated with death and misfortune, likely due to their nocturnal activity and common screeching call. However, owls have also been associated with wisdom and prosperity, frequently being depicted as companion animals for goddesses. In Hindu Mythology, the barn owl is considered to be the vehicle of Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth) and thus it is considered lucky if an owl resides near a house. The Greek goddess Athena was commonly depicted accompanied by an owl, and it has remained a common Western symbol of wisdom. This symbolism is evident in the frequent use of an owl in the logos of institutions such as universities and libraries.
In Japan, however, owls are symbols of good luck, mainly through a linguistic accident. The Japanese for "owl" is "fukurou", the Japanese for "hardship" is "kurou", and the Japanese for "not" is (in many cases) "fu". "fukurou" thus implies a life without hardship. Therefore owl symbols are often given to Japanese couples on marriage, because of the bird's auspicious association.