Feathers

Feathers are featured very prominently in the Indian culture. The Indians used these feathers as a part of their ritual and as a spiritual tool. The type of feather being used became important when it came to its use in ceremonies; this is because of the meaning assigned to the particular feather type.

Typically the birds that supplied the feathers were eagles, hawks and crows. The eagle played a significant role in Indian rituals and these were the most prized feathers. They were placed in the headdress of warriors to represent the victories and successes they achieved in battles.

The reason for the significance of the eagle's feathers is directly attributable to the belief the eagle represented strength and honor. The bird's spirit was believed to be alive in the very feathers taken from it.

Today, the eagle feather has presented problems for Native Americans who continue to use them in their religious ceremonies; federal law prohibits the hunting of eagles and the possession of eagle parts. This law requires Native Americans to obtain permits allowing them to use eagles and their feathers for their religious practices.

Feathers have been used throughout history for bedding materials. These incredibly soft beds and quilts were luxurious items and were only used by the very wealthiest of families. It is believed the practice began in Northern Europe and soon spread around the world as a luxury that very few could afford.

The sixth century saw feathers or quills used for writing instruments. These early pens were created by shaping the hollow end of goose feathers so that ink could be held in the feather. The split in the feather allowed for writing and the hollow area held the ink. These early writing instruments were commonly used until the nineteenth century.

From the rituals of many cultures to the fashion industry, feathers are commonly used around the world playing a prominent role throughout society.





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