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The peacock is one of the most beautiful creatures in the world. Their bright and colourful feathers make them a beloved bird in many cultures. The stunning beauty of peacock feathers has captivated humans for quite some time. Peacock feathers are easy to collect because they lose them naturally every year during the molting season. In different cultures, peacock feathers symbolise different things. Although they are often associated with pride, they can also symbolise good or bad luck.
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In popular Greek mythology, the peacock is associated with Hera. Legend has it that the peacock was created from Argus, a giant who had hundred eyes. It is believed that Hera transferred the eyes of Argus to the tail of the peacock so she could keep an eye on her unfaithful husband. The peacock became a sacred bird to the Greek civilisation and therefore only the priests had the permission to handle the bird. Any other person could be put to death for defying the sacred tradition. For this reason, it was believed that the possession of peacock feathers or having one at home would bring bad luck.
Peacock feathers symbolise the 'all seeing' knowledge which is an ancient symbol of immortality. The Egyptian mythology is closely related to the Greek mythology except the fact that in Egyptian myth, the feathers were also used in funerals. It is believed that these feathers symbolised resurrection which meant that the deceased was not really dead and would be reborn. As a result of this, people started associating the feathers with death and eventually the original association with rebirth and immortality was forgotten. Hence, peacock feathers were regarded as an omen of doom and people dreaded keeping them in their homes.
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In Hinduism, peacocks are associated with goddess Lakshmi as their feathers are believed to represent qualities such as patience, kindness, good fortune and luck. The peacock is also said to be the bird of lord Krishna who wore its feathers in his hair. Even today, many Hindu gurus use the bird's feathers to deliver 'shaktiput', the blessing to their disciples.
Because peacocks lose their old feathers and grow new ones every year, they represent eternal life, renewal and resurrection in Christianity. In general, the bird itself represents the 'all seeing' church as well as the sanctity and holiness associated with it. During the earlier times, Christians believed that the bird's blood had the power to dispel evil spirits. This bird is also one of the animals that appear in the stable in Jesus Christ's nativity.
When peacocks spread their tail, they display everything and therefore their feathers are associated with openness. The feathers are also used for purification ceremonies in Buddhism.
In some areas of Eastern Europe, peacock feathers are believed to bring bad luck as they were worn by the Mongol warriors. For this reason, they are never kept inside the home. Many other cultures and religions place special significance in the peacock feather. There are several other myths and legends which surround the peacock. In some, they are believed to bring good luck, while in others they are seen as bad luck.