What Hummingbirds Symbolize in Different Cultures

what hummingbirds symbolize
Hummingbirds symbolize good luck, the joy of life, beauty, and general positive events, but they’re also considered messengers from the heavens and beyond. Hummingbirds have been observed symbolically in many cultural stories from the Aztecs and Tainos to  Christianity and modern folklore. 

Hummingbird visits usually signify something joyful. These sweet birds are also considered messengers of spirits. For many people and religions, hummingbirds are sacred totems, bringers of positive energy and good luck.

Hummingbirds in Native American Culture

Hummingbirds used to live in the European region, but today, they’re native only to the Americas — Alaska, Tierra del Fuego, and South America. These birds are also found in the Caribbean. Due to their presence, these areas are rich in hummingbird legends and stories.

Native American cultures revolved around animals. Therefore, they have powerful stories about animals’ roles in people’s lives. In general, hummingbirds are seen as spirit guides, tribe messengers, and bringers of good luck.

For example, the Cherokee believed that one medicine man saved an old woman by turning himself into a hummingbird. Still, according to the Native tradition, you can’t choose your spirit animal — it chooses you. That’s why it’s important to open up and receive the potential interaction from the animal.

two hummingbirds

Hummingbird Meaning in Hopi and Zuni Culture

Hopi and Zuni cultures are rich in hummingbird stories. For example, there’s one related to famine. Food and water were scarce, and a mother and father had to leave their son and daughter while looking for food and water. The boy had carved a hummingbird out of wood, and a small bird came to life when his sister threw it in the air.

It played with the children for a while, then realized they were hungry. So the bird went away and came back every day with a piece of corn to feed them. Eventually, the hummingbird saw they needed more food, so it flew to the center of the Earth to ask a God of Fertility to replenish the land. God listened to the little bird, delivered rain, and the crops grew again.

Apache Hummingbird Symbolism

Apache folklore has a story about a warrior named Wind Dancer. The warrior was deaf but still created beautiful wordless songs. The sound was so powerful; it brought good weather and healing to the land. Eventually, Wind Dancer falls in love with a beautiful woman, Bright Rain.

When they met, a wolf attacked Bright Rain, and Wind Dancer tried to save her. Unfortunately, he was killed in the process. As soon as he died, winter fell on land. As Bright Rain walked into the field, Wild Dancer visited her as a hummingbird and sang wordless songs to comfort her.

Pueblo Hummingbird Meaning

Many Native American tribes are organized in a clan system, where each community is connected to a specific animal. For example, Navajo has bear clans, and Pueblo Nations have hummingbird clans. This is why hummingbirds are important in Pueblo stories.

According to one story, the caterpillars protect the tobacco plants. The hummingbirds then gather smoke from the caterpillars and take it to the shamans, who use it to clean the Earth. Then, hummingbirds bring gifts from the shamans to Great Mother, who lives below the soil.

Hummingbird Meaning in Mexican and Central American Culture

Mexican and Central American cultures have several stories about hummingbirds. One story has to do with when the Sun meets the Moon, it turns itself into a hummingbird, another one of the first wedding occurred between two hummingbirds, and lastly about how hummingbirds are created by the Great Creator, who made all birds from leftovers of other birds

In Mayan culture, hummingbirds were sacred animals. They believed the hummingbird feathers possessed healing powers. According to another legend, these birds were created by gods while they used a piece of jade carved into arrows. Additionally, if someone was to see a hummingbird, it meant that someone else was thinking about them, sending good thoughts. Hummingbirds were also associated with Mayans’ Sun worshiping.

Aztec Culture and Hummingbird Symbolism

When it comes to ancient Aztecs, the God of Sun and War, Huitzilopochtli, was an important patron god. His name means the Hummingbird Wizard. The god Huitzilopochtli and hummingbird were so sacred that only shamans could wear hummingbird feathers. Additionally, the Aztecs believed that dying in the war would get them reincarnated as hummingbirds.

Taino Nation

Indigenous People from the Caribbean, the Taino Nation, saw hummingbirds as a fertility and life symbol. Taino legends state that hummingbirds started as flies, but Father Sun (Agueybaba) turned them into tiny birds. Furthermore, the Taino believed that hummingbirds are a symbol of rebirth. To them, these birds are small but fierce with a heart of an eagle. Taino people call the warriors “Colibri Warriors,” meaning hummingbird warriors.

what hummingbirds symbolize

Mojave Hummingbird Meaning

A Native American tribe Mojave, see the hummingbirds as a literal guide that brought people to the Earth’s surface. Their folklore has many stories, including the one where people lived underground in darkness. Then, the hummingbird came and took them to the upper world.

Hummingbirds in Christianity

People who wrote the Bible lived around Egypt, Turkey, and other areas of the Middle East, so they had low chances of seeing hummingbirds. This is why the Bible lacks mentions of hummingbirds in general. Still, some legends assign a symbolic meaning to hummingbirds and connect the birds with good luck and a symbol of love.

General Hummingbird Symbolism

Hummingbirds symbolize many things, including the idea that people should focus on the beauty of life. Hummingbird flying long distances reminds people to persevere and remember that the journey is more important than the destination. The hummingbird symbol is associated with endurance, resilience, and adaptability.

Furthermore, these birds are also linked to eternity and infinity. They can also have a different meaning for each person, yet there are some universal hummingbird meanings to consider:

  • joy
  • healing
  • beauty
  • sweetness
  • good luck
  • variety
  • angels
  • spirits
  • flirtatiousness
  • agility
  • life’s simple pleasures
  • good omens
  • positivity

Spirit Animal, Power Animal, and Totems

These tiny birds can come to you as spirit animals, and you should accept their guidance. The hummingbird spirit animal might tell you to lighten up and enjoy life more. They may tell you you should include more fun in your relationship.

If you have ever watched hummingbirds fly around the hummingbird feeder, you probably noticed they remain stable and adaptable even in the harshest wind conditions. This means they can act as a reminder to stay agile and adjust to life’s conditions. The hummingbird spirit animal also sends a message to not wait for the perfect moment.

Instead, use what’s there and seize the moment. As a power animal, hummingbirds are reminders that you shouldn’t feel small and insignificant. Also, they tell you to use your positive energy to achieve your goals. As a totem, the hummingbird symbolizes joy, variety, health, and good luck.

It’s a helpful symbol while you’re in meditation, looking to connect to loved ones who passed. The hummingbird totem animal also signifies specific clans, families, or people, loyalty, courage, and determination.

Dreams, Angels, and Apparitions

In case you dream of a hummingbird, think about the emotions you felt in a dream. Those can provide insight into what the hummingbird symbolized for you on that level. Hummingbird dreams can also show what you should address in real life.

Sometimes, hummingbird symbols in a dream might make you anxious. This can push you toward taking the time to observe your thoughts and improve. If you dream of people or a pet you’re familiar with, it can mean you’ve connected as souls on the astral plane.

Hummingbirds are also seen as spirit guides. Some believe hummingbirds are people who passed and stayed around for a few years. If you see a hummingbird and feel something in its aura, say a prayer and think about the loved ones who passed to the spirit world.

Spiritual Meaning of a Hummingbird Tattoo

If you’re thinking of getting a hummingbird tattoo, know it symbolizes the joy and will to live. This tattoo shows you’re in tune and communicate with your spirit guides. The hummingbird tattoo also symbolizes speed, agility, flexibility, and femininity.

What Does It Mean to See a Dead Hummingbird?

If you find a dead hummingbird, know you have been chosen to honor their life. Provide a proper burial or just move their body somewhere peaceful. Thank the bird for bringing joy to this world. You can also say a prayer for the bird to rest in peace.

Final Word on Hummingbird Meaning

Hummingbirds have many meanings across different nations and religions. For most, they symbolize love, agility, resilience, and good luck. What’s more, hummingbirds carry a specific spiritual significance — they bring messages from the loved ones who passed. If you see a hummingbird in your life, it’s a sign of something positive.

Sarah Pearce

Sarah enjoys feeding hummingbirds in the warmer months, and a range of finches, woodpeckers, and cardinals in the cooler months. She enjoys researching and learning more about birds, gardening, and preserving food. She is learning how to maximize her small city backyard and is amazed at all the possibilities. She lives in southwestern Indiana with her family.

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