If you've been a part of the Sarah's Silks community for a while, you know that we love rainbows -- they've unofficially become something of a motto around our warehouse, and the inspiration for our logo, because of the joy rainbows spark visually as well as the deeper meanings they symbolize for many of us. We even made a rainbow maze, which was a huge hit for little ones at the PlayDate LA event last month!
Rainbows make a special appearance in folklore across cultures, as well as holding space in contemporary movements like the LGBTQ+ pride flag. It's not difficult to imagine why the rainbow holds such great significance within ancient mythology, seeing as its presence across the sky still inspires wonder and awe today, reminding us of hope and magic in the wake of darkness and turmoil.
Most people are probably familiar with the rainbow's place in Irish folklore, which says that at the end of every rainbow there lies a pot of gold, and other various magical treasures that are guarded by the mythical leprechaun. Legend has it that the treasure actually belongs to the fairy folk, but due to the leprechaun's sly and cunning character, he's the perfect man for the job; using trickery to lead potential seekers of the rainbow's treasure astray.
Rainbows appear throughout Native American folklore; Navajo tradition regards the rainbow as the path of the Holy Spirits, and within Cherokee mythology the rainbow is said to be "the border of the sun's coat."
In the Waldorf community, rainbow birthdays are usually celebrated when a child turns six or seven, and represent an important rite of passage. A beautiful Waldorf story, which you can adapt to specially honor your own family, tells of a "little angel", who is guided across a magical rainbow bridge by a "big angel", and into their parent's arms. This heartwarming story has been enacted and adapted by families for years, and whether or not you consider yourself within the Waldorf tradition, I encourage you to create this special ritual for your child on their next birthday.
For families who have experienced the loss of a child, rainbows might evoke deeper emotional meaning. "Rainbow Babies" refers to children born in the wake of a miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal passing; called rainbow babies because, like a rainbow after a storm, they bring light and healing after periods of darkness and pain. For many parents, the name "Rainbow Baby" serves to not only celebrate the miracle child that has joined them earth side, but also to honor the Angel Baby they still hold closely in their hearts.
These are just a few of the beautiful things that rainbows symbolize, and if your child is drawn to surrounding themselves with rainbow silks, I encourage you to explore the vast collection of mythology from Hawaii, Guam, Greece, ancient Sumer, and many other cultures. Rainbows have served as a source of inspiration and magic for thousands of years!