A phoenix is a mythical bird with colorful feathers and a tail of gold and scarlet. In the ancient Greek and Egyptian mythologies, it is described as a large bird, much like an eagle, with supernatural powers to come back to life. The appearance of this bird has been described differently in different cultures but everywhere, the phoenix bird is looked upon as a symbol of immortality, rebirth and life after death.
Myth and History of Phoenix Bird
According to a Greek legend, the phoenix bird lived in Arabia, in the woods near a cool well. Every morning at dawn, it used to bathe in the well and sing melodious songs. Even the sun god stopped his chariot near the well to listen to the beautiful songs of the phoenix. The sun god was supposed to be the mentor of this bird.
Life Story of the Phoenix Bird
It was believed that each phoenix bird lived for 500 years, and when it was about to die, it collected some twigs and spices like cinnamon and constructed a nest. Then it calmly sat on the nest and waited for a ray of the early morning sun to set fire to the nest. The bird fearlessly faced its fiery death and did not make any effort to escape from the burning nest. Soon after the phoenix was reduced to ashes, a worm used to come crawling out of the ashes and, within no time, it metamorphosed into a new, beautiful little phoenix. It then carried its father’s ashes to the temple of the sun god for burial. The majestic bird then went to live in Arabia where it lived for the next 500 years and then the cycle was repeated.
7 Interesting Facts about Phoenix Bird
- Even in present times, a person who makes a comeback after undergoing a great trauma or a great defeat is called a ‘phoenix’.
- The phoenix was a popular bird; there is a mention of the phoenix even in the Persian, Roman and Chinese mythologies.
- Some people say that each phoenix lived for 97,200 years!
- According to some accounts, the phoenix could also change itself into human beings.
- People believed that the phoenix had spirit of fire.
- You also saw this bird in the Harry Potter movie ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’. The phoenix shown in the Harry Potter series was called ‘Fawkes’ and it was a pet and protector of Albus Dumbledore. This bird was also shown in the movie ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’.
- Owing to the phoenix’s mysterious ability to be reborn, this bird is a very popular symbol used on flags. The cities of Atlanta, Georgia, and San Francisco, California, have a symbol of the phoenix rising from the ashes depicted on their flags.