Why the fish?

You may have wondered why our organisation's logo features the symbol of a fish.

This sign is perhaps most often associated with Christianity; ichthys, the ancient Greek word for fish, is spelled from the first letters of the phrase, "Jesus Christ, God's Son, the Saviour." It may be understood to represent abundance and faith, reminding us of the Gospel account of how Jesus miraculously fed the multitude with five loaves and two fish.

In early Christianity, the fish was also used as a secret symbol to mark the meetings places and safe havens, distinguishing friend from foe at a time when Christianity was being persecuted by the Roman Empire.

However, the fish symbol has a much longer and broader history, relating to both secular and religious cultures around the world. In the pre-Christian West, for instance, the fish symbolised fertility and birth. In Asia, similar themes are also associated with the image of the Golden Fish -- one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols found in religious traditions including Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism. It represents happiness, as the fish enjoys complete freedom in the ocean, in which it will never drown.

In Japan, koinobori (carp-shaped wind socks) are traditionally flown on Children's Day. They symbolise success and prosperity after a long struggle upstream.

In the Iranian new year festival of Nowrouz, goldfish form an important part of the traditional Haft Seen table, as a sign of life.

These varied meanings of the fish symbol are important to our organisation. Indeed, friendship, abundance, happiness, prosperity and vitality of life are all core values for any charity. Furthermore, the fact that this one simple image is meaningful to so many different cultures is significant in itself. It encourages an international outlook which nurtures cultural diversity, while emphasising what we have in common, rather than our divisions.

Maria Relief Fund
20 Morris Road, Lewes
East Sussex BN7 2AT

Registered Charity No.
1113029

Email:
info@mariarelieffund.org.uk

Copyright © 2017 Maria Relief Fund. All Rights Reserved.
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