The Hamsa Hand Symbol Meaning in Culture and Religion

The Hamsa Hand Symbol Meaning in Culture and ReligionSymbols are an effective way to transcend a cultural, spiritual or religious meaning. In fact, symbols were some of the earliest forms of human communication. Long before we were writing and talking, we drew symbols to interact with one another.

In ancient Egypt, hieroglyphics and cave drawings adorned walls telling stories of culture, primitive life and war.

While these drawings originated as a method to communicate the story of the era, they eventually turned to symbols which became the alphabet and first system of written language.

As you can see, symbols are a contextual and dynamic way to convey a meaning.

Which leads us to the Hamsa hand symbol meaning. The Hamsa is an ancient symbol dating back nearly 2,000 years to ancient Egypt and Iraq (formerly Mesopotamia). Hamsa predates most religions it’s associated with, as proven by archeological excavations in the Middle East.

The symbol is universally known and recognized, but what does it mean? In order to explore that question, we first need to address exactly what the Hamsa symbol is.

What is the Hamsa Symbol?

The Hamsa symbol is an open hand, often featuring an eye through the middle of the palm. This ancient symbol is popularly used in jewelry and art to represent protection. However, there are more meanings and many regions who use the Hamsa symbol.

The Arabic meaning of the word hamsa is five, and Hebrew shares the same root word. This number represents many associations adopted by various religions, including five fingers connected to the chakras, five senses and mudras, five pillars of Islam, and more.
The Hamsa Hand Symbol Meaning in Culture and Religion

The Many Names of Hamsa

Although Hamsa is the most popularly used name for the Hamsa symbol, there are many variations.

  • Hamesh: Hamesh is the Hebrew word for “five”
  • Hand of Fatima: In Islam, the Hamsa symbol is named after Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, the Prophet and founder of Islam.
  • Hand of Miriam (sister of Moses): In Judaism, Hamsa symbolizes the Hand of God and is named after Miriam, the sister of Moses.
  • Hand of Mother Mary: In Christianity, this symbol is named after Mother Mary, Jesus Christ’s mother.

Hamsa Hand Symbol Meaning

Based on the many names of the Hamsa symbol, it’s evident that it is a sacred symbol to many cultures and religions. In spite of the various doctrines, the underlying meaning of Hamsa is universally understood despite cultural or religious differences.

In large part, this is why the Hamsa symbol is so widely recognized and cherished as a symbol of protection.

The Hamsa symbol also represents the hand of God, is believed to promote health, happiness, good luck and fortune.

There is also the ancient belief that wearing a Hamsa symbol will intercept negative or evil energy. If negative or evil thoughts are projected at you, the Hamsa symbol will ward off the evil energy and protect you from negative energy or even harm.

The Hamsa Hand Symbol Meaning in Culture and Religion

Styles of the Hamsa Hand

Many people wonder if there is a difference in wearing the hamsa hand up or down. So, let us explain what each Hamsa hand style means. Both ways of wearing the Hamsa symbolize harmony and protection against Ayin Ha’ra, or the Evil Eye.

This is why some Hamsa hands have an eye in the center of the palm. The Evil Eye is an ancient symbol and amulet which represents the sum of evil forces in the world. The Evil Eye is essentially a mean or disapproving look cast toward someone to generate feelings of negativity or malice.

Despite common confusion of the the eye in the center of a Hamsa hand being the Evil Eye, it is meant to protect against the Evil Eye.
The Hamsa Hand Symbol Meaning in Culture and Religion

Hamsa Hand facing up

Wearing an upward facing Hamsa hand is meant to protect from evil energy. Not only does it ward off negativity from others, but also your own negativity toward yourself and others.

Hamsa Hand facing down

A downward facing Hamsa hand symbolizes good fortune and abundance. It is meant to invite goodness into one’s life.

What The Hamsa Hand Means to Different Religions

Despite the fact that the Hamsa hand predates religion, it has been adopted by many religions. Here are the various religious meanings of the Hamsa hand.

Hamsa Hand Meaning - Islam

The Arabic word for Hamsa is five, the Hamsa hand represents the five pillars of Islam, which are Profession of Faith, Prayer, Alms (donations), Fasting, and Pilgrimage.

Hamsa Hand Meaning - Judaism

As previously mentioned, the number five has many associations and holy references. In Judaism, the Hamsa hand represents the five holy books of the Torah.

Hamsa Hand Meaning - Buddhism and Hinduism

The Hamsa Hindu and Buddhist hand symbol represents the energy chakras that flow through the body and connect with the five senses and mudras.

Hamsa Hand Meaning - Christianity

In general, the Hamsa symbol aligns with femininity and in Christianity, the Hamsa symbol is called the Hand of Mary. The Hand of Mary is regarded divinely as Mary was a commoner who became the mother of Jesus.

Popular Hamsa Hand Jewelry

As you’ve gathered, the Hamsa hand symbol has various meanings but is a sacred symbol adopted worldwide by many cultures and religions. As such, the Hamsa hand is a popular amulet for jewelry and art. In jewelry, the Hamsa hand is commonly worn as a pendant. Hamsa hand pendants are available in a variety of metals including gold, silver, copper, rose gold and more.

Many jewelers and designers embellish the Hamsa hand with gemstones, however there are also simple, minimal variations available.

Celebrities including Rihanna, Heidi Klum and Jennifer Aniston have been pictured wearing a Hamsa hand Necklace or Hamsa hand bracelet.

Hamsa hand necklaces and bracelets are popular ways to wear the symbol as you want it in a position where you can look down and see it.

Regardless of your spiritual, cultural or religious background, the Hamsa hand is a universally beloved symbol that’s been cherished for centuries. Wearing the Hamsa provides protection and promotes positivity, harmony and happiness.


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