Rainbow are a symbolic icon with mixed meanings. As a child, it symbolized magic and was usually seen on feminine clothing with unicorns and peace signs. Although I never thought of it that way as a child, I saw the rainbow as a sign that your dreams would come true. After all, we were told that at the end of the rainbow is a pot of gold, an enchanted magical land of the leprechauns, and lots of luck. Plus, they are supposed to be rare occasions since they do not last for very long and only come after a storm. Though, I was never able to confirm this because the closest I ever got to the end of the rainbow was eating a bowl of Lucky Charms.
As I grew up, we learned about rainbows in a scientific aspect. The diffraction of white light creates the array of colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Yes, it’s indigo and violet and not just purple merged together as one colour. I loved playing the classic water hose science experiment where you spray water towards the sunlight and you will see a rainbow reflection.
On a philosophical standpoint, rainbows represented hope where the symbol was an icon of sacred blessings beyond a shadow of doubt whenever we followed our hearts. Some cultures even view rainbows as spiritual symbolism where a powerful spirit arises from rainbows when they appear and beautiful treasures come in unexpected forms.
With society become more open in welcoming individuality, we began to accept people who identified with the LGBT community. They commonly used the rainbow to present pride and activists would proudly wear clothing with rainbows to show their support of pride, diversity and individuality celebration.
However, no matter how you spin it, I still feel that a rainbow encompasses one universal meaning. It stands for freedom and it applies to all of these examples. Whenever we see a rainbow, we are free. We are free to be ourselves, free to have fun, free to dream, and free to hope. After all, only the most beautiful rainbows come after the most intense storms.
Check out my novel, ‘Hold on please, Emily,’ to see what rainbows mean to Emily McGregor.