Food Symbolism

Food symbolism can be be found throughout many cultures and such serves as an important language that helps you unlock your inner world.


Symbols contain collective beliefs and can be used as powerful tools in your own spiritual journey. Your thoughts will often express symbolically. The primary function of a symbol is to express concepts via visual shorthand.

A symbol has many advantages over the written or spoken language. The message in a symbol can be instantly registered and absorbed. It encourages a mystical or metaphysical reaction and facilitates closer communication with the sacred. Symbols are powerful and complex forms of communication irrespective of their simplicity.

When you are working on your inner world via dreams, meditation, basic contemplation, guided imagery then symbols appear to you as signposts or keys. They function as revealers or concealers of meaning. They enable you to look deeply into the mystery of life.

Food Symbolism

Food can be used symbolically. Many cultures offer food on altars and believe that it will give sustenance to deities and their ancestors. Hindus and Buddhists both share this belief. Hindus often use fruit as an offering. On the Jewish New Year, an apple dipped in honey is used to symbolize nature, bringing sweetness into the upcoming year. Native Americans use corn to signify the abundance of a harvest. In some cultures when a family moves into a new home, friends bring bread, sugar, and salt to signify nourishment, sweetness and purification.

food symbolism

Food is used to represent many aspect of lives. Symbolically it contains a wealth of meaning. In the western world everyone expects cake on their birthday. We associate chocolate with Easter and depending on where you are in the world, turkey with Thanksgiving or Christmas. Here are some more food associations.

Common Food Symbolism

Bread: earth, harvest, and abundance
Cake: celebration, sweetness
Citrus Fruits: joy, vitality
Corn: earth, harvest, and abundance
Grains: earth, harvest, and abundance
Hot spices: sexuality, creativity
Mangoes: sensuality
Pomegranate: rebirth, abundance
Salt: purification
Seeds and sprouts: new potential
Wine: celebration, bounty, creation of new life (red wine: feminine power-white wine-masculine power)

Herbs & Flowers

Along with food you could also look at herbs and flowers which for have traditionally been used to symbolize the power of the earth.

Basil: clarity, prosperity
Bay Leaf: protection
Bamboo: good fortune
Daffodil: new beginnings
Iris: love
Lotus: rebirth
Parsley: protection
Rose: love
Tobacco: fertility
Sage: purification
Rosemary: loyalty, friendship
Thyme: courage, health
Ylang-Ylang: sexual energy

Let me know if you have more information on food symbolism – other foods or herbs and what they represent. Comment below or join me and comment on Facebook

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