There are many mythological and folkloric characters depicted in green around the world, such as Green Man, green fairies, etc. Some of them are described as benevolent and helpful, while others are described as malicious and deceitful. But statistically, the color green is often associated with positive qualities and nature in mythology.
Green In European Mythologies
According to ancient sources, there is no deity associated with the color green in Norse mythology. However, Freyr is sometimes depicted as green. It should also be noted that the world tree, Yggdrasil, is often depicted as a yew tree that stays green all year.
In Greek mythology, Demeter, the daughter of Rhea and Kronos, was associated with the color green. It should come as no surprise that an agricultural goddess was associated with the color green.
In Finnish mythology, Tapio is a kind of forest god or forest spirit. Today, illustrators often depict him in green or with green leaves. In this respect he resembles the Green Man of British and European folklore.
Green In Egyptian Mythology
Trees that shed their leaves every autumn turn green again in spring. Therefore, rebirth is often associated with the color green, by analogy with this greening. Just like in Ancient Egypt…
In ancient Egypt, rebirth was often associated with the color green. That’s why Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of the dead, agriculture and rebirth, is often depicted as green-skinned.
Green In Slavic Mythology
One of the first things that comes to mind when green is mentioned in Siberian folklore is Green Week. But before talking about Green Week, it is necessary to get to know Rusalka.
Rusalka is a kind of feminine supernatural entity in Slavic folklore. Ancient Slavs generally believed that she lived in lakes. She is usually depicted as green-haired or green-skinned. However, there are regional differences in the depictions. She is depicted as a charming fairy in some regions and as an ugly woman in others.
Rusalka is often described as a being who fascinates men with her beauty. The men who follow her to the depths of the lakes die by drowning.
Green Week, also known as Rusalka Week, is a pagan festival celebrated by the Slavs in early June. In order not to deviate from the main topic, we do not talk about the details of the festival. Please, click here for more about Green Week…
However, according to the ancient Slavs, Rusalka is much more dangerous during Green Week. That’s why you shouldn’t swim in the lakes in early June.
Green In Turkic Mythology
In Turkic mythology, green and blue symbolized the east and the sky. The color green is often associated with nature. Before we get into the details, we need to get some help from etymology.
The old Turkish word for green is “Yaşıl”. “Yaşıl” is derived from “Yaş-” meaning wetness. Also, the word “yış-yiş” means forest in old Turkish. Here is an example from the Orkhon Inscriptions:
𐰃𐰠: 𐱃𐰆𐱃𐰽𐰴: 𐰘𐰃𐰼: 𐰇𐱅𐰰𐰤: 𐰘𐰃𐱁: 𐰼𐰢𐱁
Transliteration: İl: tutsk: yir: Ötüken: YIŞ: ermş.
Meaning: The best place to live is the Ötüken forest. / The Ötüken forest is the best place to be adopted as a country.
Yaşıl or Yaşılhan is also the name of the son of Ülgen, the god of kindness, mercy and weather. Yaşılhan is responsible for the greening of trees and the protection of nature.
According to Turkic myths, after Ülgen created man, he sent a raven to Kuday to ask for a soul. When the raven was returning after taking the soul, it saw a carrion on the ground. When the raven opened its mouth to eat the carrion, the soul in its beak fell into a forest with pine trees. So, that’s why pine trees do not shed their leaves today. Trees such as pine and juniper do not need Yaşılhan in the spring. Because, thanks to the soul that the raven drops into the forest, they preserve their greenery throughout the year.