Owls in Popular Culture

Owls in Human Culture

Owls are considered to be one of the most mysterious of all birds. Since they sleep during the day we don’t see them when we are awake. They blend in very well to their surroundings so you may walk by where they live and never realize it. At night they can hide too but you can hear them. There are many myths and legends throughout history and in many cultures that include the owl.

Most of us can quickly smile when we think of the wise owl in the Tootsie Pop commercial. He is the one that everyone goes to in order to find out how many licks it takes to get to the center of it! This is quite an entertaining symbol of the owl in popular culture but one that people of all ages can quickly identify with.

If you are a fan of Winnie the Pooh then you will remember the wise owl that often give the other characters advice. The owl was portrayed as the one with the wisdom and the patience that the others highly respected. In many ways, the owl is a symbol of the way in which the elderly in many cultures are seen. They are the ones with the life experience for the younger generations to listen to.

In many types of religion the feathers of the owls are considered to be sacred. They are believed to be part of the spirit world that brings both men and the gods together as one. The very large eyes of the owl are believed to be watchful and taking in what humans are doing so that it can be reported to the gods.

Greek mythology often talks about the goddess Athena who was an owl. She is talked about in a good light with the ideals of art, wisdom, beauty, and skillfulness. In this same type of mythology though seeing an owl during the day was a bad symbol due to the connection of their nesting during the day with that of someone that is in eternal rest.

There are some cultures that simply have no use for the owl. They see it as a strange looking creature. They also see the eyes as something that stares at them but doesn’t comprehend. Therefore they don’t really seem to take notice of them at all. Yet they don’t harbor any ill feelings towards these birds.

When it comes to owls in popular culture though it isn’t all on a positive note. For example the Egyptians were fearful of the owl. In fact, in their drawings you will often find that this bird has missing or broken legs. It is portrayed that way to prevent the bird from taking flight.

For that culture as well as numerous others, the sight of an owl was a symbol of bad luck. It was often an indicator of something terrible to come including death. Children born when an owl was hooting were said to be scarred with bad things to take place for them throughout their lives. In fact, this belief was so powerful that some of these young were taken from their families at birth to prevent them from bringing despair to an entire village.

In many areas of Asia the owl has both positive and negative meanings in popular culture. It really depends on the coloring of the owl as well as the species of it. This is very hard to keep track of unless you are from that type of native culture and you have been educated in it since you were a young child.

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