Unicorns are such amazing creatures that we always want to know and understand more about them. But do you know all fascinating unicorn facts? Across the world and throughout several myths and legends, unicorns exist in many different forms. A wide range of uncommon unicorn facts as well as interesting stories around them also makes us curious. Let’s start the journey to explore all the astonishing things about this creature of legend.
What is a unicorn?
A unicorn is known as a legendary and mythical creature. Normally, people depict this creature as a white, horse-like creature with a single horn growing from its forehead. The word unicorn means “one horn”. Its origin is from the Latin word unus which means one and cornu which means horn.
Unicorns are found in a wide range of stories and myths from different parts of the world, especially in China and India. What’s more mysterious, its blood and horn are supposed to have mystical powers. In Western culture, the unicorn’s horn (often called alicorn) is considered to have the power to neutralize poison as well as to heal wounds and sickness. However, alicorn isn’t just the name of a unicorn’s horn. People also call alicorn as the name or unicorn with wings – the winged unicorn.
In many cases, a unicorn can also be seen as a donkey, deer or goat with a single horn. Its horn is often straight and long, marked with spiral striations along its length. Generally, the unicorn is depicted as a symbol of purity and grace, with its horn supposed to hold the power to cleanse poisonous water and to heal sickness. The unicorn is so precious that people would sell the tusks of the Narwhal whale and tell it as a unicorn horn in medieval times.
Are unicorns real? Did they ever exist?
These are among the most common questions about the unicorn. The existence of a unicorn is always a topic that draws much attention. People often ask each other whether a unicorn is real or not, but very few people seem to know the exact answer. So, are unicorns real? Who made up them? Did they ever exist beyond people’s imaginations?
In fact, no one has proven the existence of unicorns. Scientists would suppose that unicorns are not real and that they are just parts of the mythology. According to the scientists, cultures all around the would describe different stories of unicorns from China to the Middle East, to Africa, and now to the United States. Why have that difference when they are telling the story of a creature that is the same all over the world? The explanation is maybe because unicorns speak to something inside of ourselves, the thing that believes in beauty, in the rareness of nature as well as in magic.
And although it’s hard to find any substantiated evidence until now about the existence of unicorns, there are some certain events that have helped to fuel the myth of unicorns.
A lot of people claim to have seen unicorns in person. In 1991, Austrian naturalist Antal Festetics said he saw a unicorn while horseback riding in the Harz Mountains though he offered no proof of this event. Besides, in 2010, the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto shared the footage of a unicorn sighting, which was deemed a hoax. In that footage, the unicorn’s gait looks quite wooden as it travels along, unlike the flowing gait of a horse.
Up to now, there has been no exact answer to the existence of the unicorn. However, the myth of this creature has appeared for a very long time. In mythology and heraldry, a unicorn symbolizes purity, innocence, and feminine power. The creature is often regarded as the counterpart of the lion, the symbol of masculine virtues.
Legends of the unicorn
Unicorns are one of the creatures that occupy a strange position in popular culture. In fantasy narratives, they are often known as pure, noble animals who save the hero in their darkest hour.
behind the glitter and rainbows stands a somewhat spiritual creature, at times both gentle and ferocious, mysterious and medieval. Let’s go into the detail of the most exciting and astonishing legends around this Scotland national animal.
How long have people believed in unicorns?
The mythical creature has captivated the human imagination for more than 2,000 years. For most of that time, well into the Middle Ages, many people began to believe them to be real. The roots of the unicorn myth date back at least as far as 400 BC, when the Greek historian Ctesias first mentions a unicorn-like animal in his writings on the region of India. The descriptions of the unicorn can also be found throughout the following centuries in the writings of other prominent historical figures. They claimed that similar animals could be found in the ancient and vast Hercynian Forest of Germany.
The unicorn of Antiquity
In around 398, a BC Greek physician named Ctesias wrote about unicorns while based in Persia though his tales were supposed to be about the unicorns of India. A note is that the writer had never actually been to India himself. All that he gathered is from travelers and the tales are so fantastical, according to Chris Lavers. So, we have two options. First, we can assume that he was a liar. Or second, he just wrote down the unicorn story as what travelers told him. This made him simply gullible.
The unicorns of Medieval
As we move into the 12th century, the bestiaries ditched Pliny’s hybrid model. They described a unicorn as being a “very small” creature, just like the size of a goat’s kid. However, that description clearly didn’t stick, since a famous example of Middle Ages weaving below can attest.
The Unicorn Tapestries, now organized at The Cloisters in New York, refers to a series of seven tapestries dating to around 1500. In it, hunters set out in order to capture a unicorn. The tapestries are nearly accurate in a botanical sense. Yet “the weavers and designers ignored the seasons by juxtaposing plants in flowers that normally bloom at different times of the year. That’s why, each type of plant is revealed in its prime, creating an enchanting ensemble of the best that nature has to bring.
The tapestries are known as the hunt of the unicorn
This can be listed as one of the most amazing legends of unicorns. In the early Christian era, people believed that the unicorn was a ferocious beast, in part thanks to Ctesias’ descriptions of the unicorn’s ferocity. Hunters even couldn’t capture a unicorn. The legendary creature unicorn could only be tamed by a virgin maiden.
In this myth, the maiden would sit quietly until the unicorn found her. In the maiden’s presence, the beast became tame, even laying its head in her lap. At this time, the hunters can capture or even kill the unicorn. In the Unicorn Tapestries, the maiden didn’t look at that gory moment. Is she unwilling to acknowledge her role in the death of the unicorn? These are the legends that tied together virginal girls and unicorns. Some tales claimed the unicorn might catch the girl’s scent.
The Search for the Ancient Unicorn
Like in ancient times, there are very few who could seriously claim that they have ever seen a unicorn. However, that cannot stop us from looking for the mystery. There has been some temptation on the part of modern scholars to search for the evidence of the enigmatic unicorn in far more ancient imagery than medieval bestiaries.
For example, the so-called “unicorn” cave painting discovered in the Hall of the bulls at the Paleolithic Lascaux Cave dates back to 17,000 BC. Also, there is the “unicorn” appearing on many of the soapstone seals from the Indus Valley Civilization (c. 7000 – c. 600 BC), recovered at South Asia archaeological sites.
Perhaps these animals just referred to a creature that was similar to the unicorn. This means the roots of the unicorn myth date back much farther than evidence currently suggests. However, there are some historians who dispute that such depictions are anything more than two-horned animals.
Also, the Chinese qilin has sometimes been compared to the unicorn of European medieval folklore while traditionally the qilin is depicted as having two horns.
Either way, the mythical unicorn is not so fascinating just thanks to its single horn. It is also because of its characteristics that have appeared to be associated with this fearsome, elusive, and magical creature. The unicorn has drawn our attention for centuries. However, it is only through its myth, stories, and art that we have ever come close to getting to know more about a unicorn.
What did the unicorn represent?
Unicorn symbolization draws much attention. In fact, we can discover different meanings in different animals, from the smallest creature to the biggest one. While the ant symbolism is for honesty, strength, loyalty, diligence, and patience, the unicorns are often known as the symbols of purity, magic, innocence, freedom, and healing. In modern life, unicorns also represent joy, hope, pride, positivity, and diversity.
Despite the fact that the qualities that unicorns represent can change in different cultures, unicorns are still regarded as one of the very few creatures that are almost always given positive associations.
And wherever we look in the world, the astonishing nature of unicorns continues to enchant and enthrall people. That explains why we remain captivated and curious, reshaping the unicorns so its silver hooves keep on leaving their prints on our imaginations.
Magic and healing
The very first meaning of unicorns is surely nothing but magic. As one of the most wondrous creatures, the unicorns are the symbol of magic and enchantment. They are considered to be able to bless innocent and virtuous people with wisdom and miracles.
Do you know what are the symbols that link the unicorn with such wonderful capacity? They are its horn and hair. The spiral horn, in people’s belief, owns the healing power. As mentioned in several legends of unicorn, if you touch a unicorn’s horn, you can be healed from severe wounds and receive good fortune.
In the past, some wealthy people tried to trade for a unicorn’s horn so that they can extend their longevity and protect them from mishaps. Although the horns turned out to belong to rhinoceros or narwhals, it cannot be denied that people had such a strong belief in the unicorn’s horn. Even, some didn’t hesitate to pay a fortune with the hope in the wonderful power of unicorns’ horns.
Purity and innocence
For a long time, unicorns have also been regarded as a symbol of innocence and purity. Rumor has it that only people with the purest heart can see a unicorn. To put in another way, unicorns only make their presence in front of the ultimately innocent people. This also explains why people believe that a unicorn can be tamed only by a real virgin.
It is said that in the arms of a virgin, unicorns are friendly and gentle. And if confronted with a fake virgin who pretends to catch them, unicorns may turn aggressive and stab that one with their horns.
Because of their silver-white fur, unicorns have long been associated with femininity. The creatures are considered to represent the moon that is also connected to women. That’s why you see that unicorns usually appear in several paintings as well as works of art under the shining moonlight.
Also, the horn of a unicorn keeps a strong connection with masculinity. With its magical power, the creature boasts speed and strength to move trans-dimension and even to kill an elephant just by its horn.
Because the unicorns express both qualities, many people have linked the creature with a sexless creature. Therefore, the unicorns are also considered the symbol of unity and the differences of people.
Being a spiritual horse, a unicorn is considered to be able to gallop throughout all dimensions and realms, to appear at any time and any place it wants. To be more specific, unicorns live in the 7th dimension where angels live. However, they have the freedom to choose the place where they want to live.
With such wonderful power, the unicorn represents freedom. In other words, they are considered the symbol of a free spirit.
Unicorns also represent travelling as they own the capacity to run very fast. If you have a feeling that your spirit animal is a unicorn, then you will surely be a born traveler. You will always desire to set out on a new adventure to discover new lands and people.
Just think that unicorns are not only living in “once-upon-a-time” stories or the glittery corner of a kid’s room as well as a colorful cereal box. The pretty imaginary creatures are the symbols of so many things that what they mean to us may be quite different from what they mean to you. For us, a unicorn represents magic and fantasy.
Many people often wonder: “what is my spirit animal?” and they often wish their spirit animal to be the unicorn. The unicorn spirit animal is said to help you realize your dreams and bring your visions to fruition. The unicorn works alongside the angels, leading you to angelic unconditional love as well as pure innocent intent.
Also, the unicorn spirit animal helps enhance our belief in a magical world where what we dream can really happen. Miracles will appear the time the unicorn shows itself to you. In case you are facing hard times in your life, the unicorn will bring you joy and upliftment. The magical creature will remind you not to give up on your dreams. Each experience of tough times is just temporary.
National Unicorn Day
What is the National Unicorn Day?
National Unicorn Day on April 9 is the official day to celebrate this most popular mythical creature ever. Why should we celebrate this special day? Because if we refuse to take time out to celebrate a pretty, horned, rainbow-printed mythical creature, it means we are nearly missing a trick. As we have mentioned above, the unicorn represents happiness, fantasy, and wonder. Also, it is the symbol of color, or childlike splendor and magic.
Unicorns often appear on birthday cakes and children’s clothing. And what’s more, let’s be honest as quite a lot of adults still dig them too. On this special occasion, preparing some cakes, wearing a unicorn shirt, and enjoying the wonderful atmosphere with your loved ones are all the best National Unicorn Day activities to do. National Unicorn Day is such an ideal chance for all of us to express some unicorn love. That’s why to start to show some color and delve into the magnificence of unicorns with us!
What to do to celebrate National Unicorn Day?
Dress up as a unicorn
What’s better than dressing up as a unicorn on the day to celebrate this creature? Unicorn outfits will surely be a fabulous fashion statement and these outfits will make for super awesome costumes for kids. Making a cute outfit by preparing a unicorn shirt for you and your loved ones is a great idea.
Eat unicorn-themed food
How about trying to make multicolored pancakes for your breakfast, or check out your meal Instagram for rainbow unicorn toast recipes. Besides, you can also try a rainbow layered cake and a bowl of unicorn noodles.
Scotland is the homeland of unicorns since they don the creature proudly on their coat of arms. In this country, you can visit the historic Edinburgh Castle near the National War Monument or St Margaret’s Chapel. You can look for wonderful carvings and sculptures of unicorns on these historic buildings.
Unicorn – Scotland National animal
The Scotland national animal
With Scotland being famous for its love for as well as a long history of myths and legends, it is no surprise to discover that a fabled creature such as the unicorn is Scotland national animal. For centuries, people have linked unicorns to Scotland. Although the animal is mythological, the qualities it represents are what makes the creature a perfect fit as the national animal for Scotland.
The first time the unicorn was used is on the Scottish royal coat of arms by William I in the 12 century. In the 15 century, while King James III was in power, gold coins of the country appeared with the unicorn on them. In Scotland, the unicorn is believed to be the strongest animal – the creature that is wild, untamed, and could only be humbled by a virgin maiden. It is possible that the entrapment represents the power of the Scottish Kings – they were so strong that they can tame even a unicorn.
Why did Scotland choose the unicorn as its national animal?
As we’ve discovered in the unicorn’s symbolization, unicorns are associated with purity, power and strength. These are pretty admirable qualities, don’t you think?
Also, the unicorns are so proud and untamable – two words that a lot of people would use to describe Scots throughout history.
Many of Scotland’s monarchs have used unicorns in their coat of arms since the 15th century. Kings favored the mythical beast as they considered it to be the best representation of power. In fact, unicorns were supposed to be so strong that only Kings and virgin maidens could keep them captive. Kings had the ability to do this due to their divine right and virgins can do so as they are as pure and innocent as unicorns themselves.
Where to see the unicorn in Scotland?
Don’t forget to visit the following historic buildings and statues featuring the unicorn in Scotland if you have a chance to visit the beautiful country Scotland.
- In front of the National War Museum and St Margaret’s Chapel at Edinburgh Castle.
- A gatepost at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of Her Majesty The Queen in Scotland, at the gatehouse of the Queen’s Gallery by the palace.
- The Kings Fountain at Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots.
- Stone carving on the ST Andrews University building.
- Unicorns at Delgatie Castle near Turriff in Aberdeenshire, known as one of the oldest and most historic castles in Scotland.
- The figurehead of HM Frigate Unicorn in Dundee, the only water-based unicorn in the country.
- The Queens chair in the Thistle Chapel at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.
What’s the meaning of the unicorn in the British coat of arms?
The British coat of arms has a unicorn and a lion flanking a shield. Here, the lion is the national animal of England while the unicorn is Scotland’s national animal, both of which are part of the British empire. It is supposed that the lion is the unicorn’s arch nemesis. In addition, the unicorn is undefeatable.
Did Scotland coincidently choose a unicorn as one of the rare animals able to defeat England’s national animal? We think not! How about you?
Uncommon unicorn facts
Throughout the amazing legends and myths of the unicorn, you will find out so many uncommon facts about unicorns. For example,
- Unicorn’s horns are called alicorns
- If a Unicorn and a Pegasus mate, their babies may become flying unicorns
- Alicorn isn’t just the name of the unicorn’s horn. It’s also the horse with wings and one horn’s name.
- Scotland is not the only country to celebrate Unicorn Day. It was first recognized on April 9 as National Unicorn Day in the United States in 2015.
- Unicorn horns were used in pharmacies in the 1700s
- An underwater creature, known as a Narwhal, looks like a unicorn horn.
- The Last Unicorn was made into an animated film, starring big celebrity voice talent in 1982. It keeps on being one of the most popular unicorn films of all time.
- According to mythology, anyone who touches a pure White Unicorn will find happiness and joy in their entire life.
- The Jewish legend reveals that the Unicorn can easily kill an elephant
Different types of unicorns
Many people just think of the traditional European unicorn that is horse-like with a single horn and usually a bright white coat. However, in fact, there are many different types of unicorns. Across the world and throughout legends and myths, unicorns exist in a lot of different forms. The most outstanding ones are:
The European Unicorn
This type of unicorn is known as the best-known one with its white swift body and majestic look. They are quite close in size to horses, or exactly a little bigger. They are considered extremely swift runners. This unicorn’s horn has magical properties, bringing good fortune as well as healing to those around it.
Eastern European Unicorn
The unicorn looks a little bit like a pony. The creature is very lovely with its big shiny eyes and a bit rounded and chubby body. Normally, the Eastern European unicorn is described as being similar to the European unicorn, but much smaller.
When thinking of unicorns, many people tend to imagine the familiar creature with the spiraling horn in the center of its forehead. After all, these are exactly the creatures we are most accustomed to seeing. In general, the spiraling horn looks quite the same as a narwhal’s horn, though not quite as long. This type of unicorn is considered to be rare and most of them are supposed to live by the sea, hidden from sight and extremely shy of people. Their horns are longer than those of many other types of unicorn.
The Qilin – The Chinese Unicorn
The Chinese unicorn, also called the Qilin, is very different from the European one. Rather than owning a horse’s body, the creature gets the shape of a tiger or a deer. However, a similar thing is that it still possesses a single horn in the center of its forehead. Also, this type of unicorn has many of the same associations as other unicorn species, including good luck and the power of healing.
This is said to be the least known, and certainly the least welcome type of the unicorn family. Often known as a creature of darkness and fire, the Nightmare is not a mythical beast anyone would like to meet anywhere! The Nightmare’s mane and tail are supposed to be made of fire, and this is a truly fearsome equine. These are extremely fast creatures that move with supernatural speed.
A lot of people claim that pegasus is not actually a type of unicorns. In fact, they are relatives. The creatures have no horn. They do have beautiful wings that bring them the ability to swoop up into the clouds. This type might not be technical “unicorns”. However, we are pretty sure that these beautiful horses are a close cousin of a unicorn.
Rainbow unicorn is regarded as one of the most common types of unicorns in the world. A rainbow unicorn has a rainbow mane and magical powers that will let it change the weather. They are considered a good unicorn unit that does no harm. This species can be found in any humid, isolated places all around the world. What’s astonishing, their main food resource is magical spring water and elodea.
There are so many types of unicorn. I bet you will think it is incredible when a single creature could be so diverse and have so many different forms. Mythology from many cultures around the world has shaped and reshaped the body as well as different characteristics of the unicorn. And our imaginations keep doing so these days.
By no means, we have provided you with a definitive list of the different types of unicorn. We know there might be many other types out there, depending on the creature’s particular environments. What other forms of unicorns do you know? Share with us!
A unicorn and a kelpie: Their differences
What are the differences between the unicorn and the kelpie? They are integral to Scottish folklore. And though both are horse-like, they have subtle differences. While the unicorn is land-based with a single horn growing from its forehead, a kelpie is regarded as an evil water-spirit that haunts Scotland’s lochs. When it takes on the shape of a horse, the kelpie might also pose as a human.
Around the unicorn, there are too many amazing stories and legends! What do you think about this creature of legend? Are unicorns extinct animals or just purely mythical? Everything seems to be quite mysterious and we know you are still looking for other amazing unicorn facts. If someday you get any piece of new unicorn facts, feel free to share with us. We always want to discover more stories about this creature of legend!
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