Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The history of Swastika

SwastikaBBC News has a very interesting article on the origins of the Swastika- a mark made on people or objects to give them good luck in Indo-European culture.

The EU wishes to ban the symbol because of its Nazi associations, but the Swastika has been around since long before the Nazis decided to make the swastika (originally a Hindu symbol for luck and 'samsara'), symbolize hatred and racism.

From Wikipedia:
The swastika appears in art and design throughout human history, symbolising many different things — luck, Surya (the sun), Brahma, or the Hindu concept of samsara. In antiquity, the swastika was used freely by Sumerians, Hittites, Celts and Greeks, among others. The swastika today is used primarily as a religious symbol by Hindus – it was first mentioned in the Vedas, the holy texts of Hinduism – but transferred to other Indic religions like Buddhism and Jainism. It also occurs in other Asian, European, and Native American cultures – sometimes as a simple geometrical motif, sometimes as a religious symbol. The pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo, England, contains gold cups and shields bearing swastikas. The almost universally positive meanings of the swastika were subverted in the early twentieth century when it was adopted as the emblem of the National Socialist German Workers Party. Since World War II, most Westerners see it as solely a fascist symbol, leading to incorrect assumptions about its pre-Nazi use and its current use in other cultures.


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