Phoenix is a unique bird that lived for five or six centuries in the Arabian Desert and surrounded by many legends and stories. Phoenix was often being called as sacred firebird in many cultures. According to a legend, this bird was believed as long-live bird as it always cyclically regenerated or reborn in time. Also be called as Bennu Bird, Phoenix was believed to be a symbol of rebirth and divinity. Phoenix was said to resemble another species of bird which is eagle with its brilliant gold and red plumage features.
In early Christian art, Phoenix became popular as it represented the symbols of resurrection, immortality, and the life-after-death of Jesus Christ. In Chinese mythology, it was believed that phoenix is the symbol of positive elements such as prosperity and power in life. Chinese people also love to decorate their house with Phoenix’s pictures and symbols as they believed that this sacred bird could bring the meanings of loyalty and honesty into their life. Furthermore, the Persians’ myth believed that Phoenix can bring good fortunes in one’s life and avoiding the bad lucks at the same time.1
In Japan, there are two different names for phoenix which is “Ho” for the male Phoenix and “Oo” for the female Phoenix.2 To make it simple, generally Japanese people will call Phoenix as Ho-Oo. According to Japanese legend, Ho-Oo will only appear in the time of peace and will disappear at the time of troubles. However, Islamic view of Phoenix is totally different from other cultures. In Islam, the people believe that Phoenix was once created with all perfections in this earth by God, but thereafter it became a plague and was killed.
In Slavic folklore, there was a legend about Phoenix which tells a story about how pearls fall from the beak of a Phoenix right after its eyes sparkle while it flies around in the air. Based on this legend, this bird now is taken as the symbol of hopes and mystic for them. For Hindus, the people relate Garuda with Phoenix as Garuda have similar features as Phoenix such as its beak, wings and tail. Associated with the sun because of its bright body colors, it was also a myth that explained on Phoenix which actually can obtains a new life from the ashes of its predecessor. Until today, Phoenix still be used in the literature of some cultures and the legends of this magical bird will never fade away.
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1. New World Encyclopedia, ”Phoenix (Mythology)”, http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/phoenix_(mythology)