Swastika Symbol
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Swastika Symbol – History And Meaning

Thousands of years before the symbol became infamous when it was associated with Hitler’s Nazi flag, the swastika has quite an extensive history. It was one of the most popular Norse symbols and not just a Germanic symbol. Read on to find out the history and meaning of the Swastika symbol.

Swastika Symbol – History And Meaning

Collage of 4 different swastika symbols from different cultures
Collage of 4 different swastika symbols from different cultures

History of Swastika

Around seven thousand years ago, the Swastika symbol appeared in Neolithic Eurasia as a hooked cross. This early swastika was said to represent the movement of the sun through the sky.

However, in the emergence of the Aryan race theory during the 19th-century, the swastika took an entirely different meaning. It became a symbol of the Aryan identity, which was a historical race concept used to describe people of Indo-European heritage.

These are basically racist groups, who took the swastika as a symbol of the German nationalist pride.

This is said to be the most probable reason why in 1920, the Nazi Party adopted the swastika or Hakenkreuz (German: “hooked cross’) as its symbol.

Apart from the Nazi Party, the swastika was also used by various far-right nationalist movements post-World War 1. The swastika was then commonly believed to represent the idea of a racially ‘pure’ state. As the Nazis took over Germany, the connotations of the Swastika was forever altered.

More than a symbol that was intended to instill pride among Aryans, the Swastika is the most recognizable image of the Nazi propaganda.

It was such a potent symbol that it struck terror into Jews and others who were considered enemies of Nazi Germany. The swastika appeared on the Nazi flag, arm bands, badges, election posters and medallions for various organizations. 

Today, many people, especially in Europe, still associate the swastika with the Nazi. Nazi symbols, which included the swastika flag, are banned in many countries including Germany itself.

The Swastika Symbol

Hindu Hexagram Swastika
Hindu Hexagram Swastika

The word ‘swastika’ means ‘good fortune’ or ‘well-being’ from the Sanskrit swastika or sauwastika. This hooked cross symbol goes back to as early as 7,000 years ago and is used to represent the sun’s movement through the sky.

Despite its former connection with Hitler and the Nazi Party, the swastika remains to be a sacred symbol in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Odinism. It is a symbol often seen on temples or houses in India or Indonesia.

The swastika symbol has also been found in ancient artifacts from pre-Christian European cultures.

Swastika Symbol Meaning

Curved-hooks swatiska used by Nazi movements
Curved-hooks swatiska used by Nazi movements

Despite the infamy of the swastika when it was used by Hitler and his Nazi movement, the symbol has retained its importance especially in Near East and Indian cultures. 

In the 19th century, the German businessman and archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann discovered the Swastika symbol on the Hisarlik, said to be the site of Troy.

He saw links to the symbol in similar shapes found on pottery in Germany, which led him to believe that it was an important religious symbol of their remote ancestors.

At the start of the 20th century, the swastika became more popular in Europe. It had a number of meanings but the most popular is that the swastika symbolizes good luck and auspiciousness.

The swastika is a known symbol in Hindu and Buddhist countries such as Nepal, India, Mongolia, China and Japan. It is also often used in Hindu marriage ceremonies.


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