Saturday, May 23, 2009

World Turtle Day, Native American Symbolism

May 23rd is World Turtle Day. It is an annual observation which began in 2000 to celebrate and honor turtles, bringing people's attention to their situation and in so doing to help us see what’s happening to all animals, the environment and the earth as a whole.

Several museums, aquariums, zoos, animal and environmental groups are staging events in to entertain and educate people about turtles and the environment. The celebration officially lasts for a full month with things happening through June.

American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) is a nonprofit organization established nearly 20 years ago for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle. Susan Tellem, co-founder of ATR, says, "These gentle animals have been around for about 200 million years, yet they are rapidly disappearing as a result of the live food markets, habitat destruction and the cruel pet trade.

"We are seeing smaller and smaller turtles coming into the rescue which means that older adults are disappearing from the wild, and the breeding stock is drastically reduced. This is a very sad time for turtles and tortoises throughout the world.” 

There may be events scheduled in your area today or over the next month. There are always animal organizations, and reptile-specific ones, such as the ATR that could use some assistance, whether donations of money, supplies or time.

The Children's Museum of Science & Technology in Troy, New York and the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston will be having special events on Saturday, May 23rd. Turtle Days is an annual festival in Churubusco, Indiana celebrating the legend of Oscar the Turtle the Beast of Busco! 

Whether your local zoo or aquarium is having a Turtle Day event or not, it’s a great time to visit and to do some personal research into reptiles. Bring out your inner Mutant Ninja, maybe. Get together with some friends and and invent a special reptilian interpretive dance while you think about how to best do your part to help these creatures in your community?

The turtle is one of the most popular tattoo themes around. It is considered to have brought about the creation of the universe from its parts. Divination or foretelling has been known to be conducted by reading a turtle's shell and underbelly. According to Japanese culture the turtle is known to possess a spirit
of healing and profound inner knowledge.

Popular Good Luck Turtle Pendant
Oval Simulated Gemstones, choose color

The Turtle protects by teaching the family to protect themselves. She brings the blessings of heaven to the home. The turtle symbolizes both the stability of earth energy, and the magical mysteries of heaven. Some Native Americans see the Turtle as the sacred life giver, representative of Mother Earth, and have tribal fetish necklaces for her.

A turtle was worn over a woman's heart. Women aspired to be like the turtle and hoped their children would also take on the qualities of the turtle.

Our friends did a significant amount of research before acquiring their pet turtles who are our official Blog spokes-turtles today, Boomer and Scamp, and they're featured in the photo above. They're happy and healthy and love having their pictures taken!

You may choose to express your beliefs, what you love by incorporating those motifs into what you wear and how you decorate your home.

Keep things close, keep it real. There is a vast array of turtle themed tattoos out there. Turtle designs in tee shirts, beautiful stained glass, jewelry of all kinds can be found in many forms, many places.

Links to Resources:

American Tortoise Rescue

Churubusco Turtle Days Festival in Indiana 

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