Spirituality

Expressing religion through religious symbols

By Jean Sanders
Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Many people use crosses and other religious symbols to demonstrate their beliefs.
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The history of religious crosses

The use of crosses as a religious symbol predates Christianity by many years. Early religious crosses were found in Scandinavia, where they were signs for the god Thor. In Babylon, a cross adorned with a crescent moon symbolized a moon god, while a sun god was represented by an Assyrian cross that demonstrated the four directions the sun shines by its corners. Both earthly and celestial states are shown in Hindu crosses.

The ankh is a cross topped with a loop that was used in early Egyptian religions. It was associated with Maat, the Egyptian goddess of truth. The ankh can be seen in jewelry today and is still a symbol displayed by many people.

Since ancient times in Europe, the representation of a human figure on a cross has been seen. This was originally a pagan symbol related to crop fertility, but was later seen in Christian crucifixes.

The first use of a cross in Christianity is believed to be on a mid-5th century Vatican sarcophagus. Today both plain religious crosses and crucifixes are symbols with great meaning to those with Christian beliefs as they represent the manner in which Jesus Christ died.

When shopping for a gift for a religious person, religious inspirational gifts suit any occasion. Selecting a cross or religious book as a gift for a first communion or confirmation is a natural choice. But people who enjoy expressing their religion will welcome religious inspirational gifts for birthdays, Christmas and other occasions as well as well.

If a religious couple is marrying, they might welcome a wall decoration with religious art or a Bible verse. A cross on a chain could be the perfect Mother's Day present. A greeting card with a message of faith might be just the thing to lift the spirits of a friend who is ill or feeling low.

Religious messages can appear on many other types of gifts, including mugs, candles, figurines and other items. This provides gift givers with many choices to please their religious friends.



While the cross may be the most popular symbol of Christianity, there are other well-known Christian religious symbols. One that is often seen is the fish. Normally shown as a simple outline, it was originally a pagan symbol representing the Mother Goddess. Other ancient cultures, including the Chinese, the Egyptians, the Romans, the Scandinavians and the Greeks also used the fish to represent gods in their religions.

The fish symbol was acknowledged in Christianity by the eating of fish on Friday, a practice that was recently ended. This tradition may have arisen from the early Greek worship of the fish goddess, Aphrodite Salacia. Her followers ate fish on Friday, her sacred day. Another source of the former Christian fish eating practice may have been the Scandinavian goddess Freya. Her name is the source of the present day name for the sixth day of the week, Friday and fish was eaten in her honor.

Images of angels and saints are other significant Christian religious symbols. These symbols can be seen in paintings, sculptures and jewelry. Many people believe that angels and saints can have a positive influence on different aspects of their lives and may pray to them for assistance.

Crosses can be made of many different materials, including precious metals. They are often worn on chains around the neck as jewelry. They can also be displayed in the home in the form of wall plaques or statues. When you meet someone who is wearing or displaying a cross, you will know they treasure their Christianity.

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