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Top Ten Fun & Friendly Icons of the Caribbean

1. Pineapple:
The Pineapple has always been synonymous with hospitality and used as a gesture of friendliness across the Caribbean. Pineapples, locally grown and a dietary staple in the islands, were traditionally hung outside the houses of Carib Indians as a sign to welcome visitors. This practice was adopted by Colonialists who carved pineapples onto the entrance of their plantations to welcome visitors.

As an aside, the Pineapples of Eleuthera, an island within the Bahamas, are known to be the sweetest and juiciest of all.

2. Palm Tree:
Apart from the obvious meaning of a tropical vacation, the palm tree has a historically religious meaning. Palm branches can be seen throughout Christian art as a symbol of victory or triumph of the spiritual over the worldly. The use of Palms on Palm Sunday, and the burning of these palms for use in next years Ash Wednesday symbolizes mortality and penance. As a result they have become known as a symbol of purity.

3. Hibiscus:
A symbol of beauty and fertility.

4. Aloe:
Synonymous with healing and good health.

5. Flamingo:
A symbol of the sun. Ancient Egyptians revered the flamingo as a living symbol of the sun god Ra but in more recent times the pink flamingo has donned the lawns of many in plastic form to symbolize summertime.

The Flamingo is found naturally breeding on the island of Mayaguana, in the southern Bahamas and Bonaire where it is the island’s National symbol.

6. Iguana
considered sacred by the Mayan peoples and revered in the Caribbean to this day. Endangered in most islands, the Blue Iguana’s are the recycling symbol for the Cayman Islands.

7. Conch Shell:
Not only is the conch shell one of the 8 auspicious symbols of Buddhism signifying righteous speech and strength, and part of the Hindu tradition of prayer, but also the weapon of choice of mystical mermaids and mermen looking to increase the magnitude of waves across the ocean. As such its mystical meaning alludes to strength and fortitude.

8. Cowrie Shells:
An inertly feminine symbol, the cowrie has traditionally been used as a charm, sewn into the hems of Indian women to encourage love and fertility.

9. Scallop Shells:
The scallop shell is used in many ways through Christianity to depict the purity of pilgrimage, or to encourage fertility.

Known as the traditional emblem of the apostle “St James the Great” the scallop shell was used by St James during his pilgrimage, to beg for as much food, or liquids as one scoop of the shell could hold. Because of the size of the shell even the poorest of poor households could assist him along the way. Later, followers of St James, making their way to his shrine, wore the scallop shell symbol on their hats and clothes. Hence the use of the scallop shell in Christianity to depict “pilgrimage’.

There is also the fertility symbolism associated with the scallop shell derived from the ancient paintings of Venus, roman goddess of love and fertility which always identified her with a scallop shell. Perhaps this is why some pilgrims walking the “way of st james” wore the scallop shell as a pagan fertility ritual to encourage child bearing.

10. The Sand Dollar:
According to legend if you break the center of the sand dollar, five white doves will be released to spread good will and peace across the earth.

Beyond this, the religious meaning of the Sand Dollar is told in this wonderful verse:

There's a pretty little legend
That I would like to tell
Of the birth and death of Jesus
Found in this lowly shell

If you examine closely,
You'll see that you find here
Four nail holes and a fifth one
Made by a Roman's Spear.

On one side the Easter Lily,
Its center is the star
That appeared unto the shepherds
And led them from afar.

The Christmas poinsettia
Etched on the other side
Reminds us of His birthday
Our Happy Christmastide.

Now break the centre open
And here you will release
The five white doves awaiting
To spread Good Will and Peace.

This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me
To help us spread
His Gospel?Through all eternity.

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Source: www.articledashboard.com