There are seven animals that symbolize happiness. These include the bluebird, otter, hummingbird, dolphin, dragonfly, coyote, and bats.
Some of these animals may surprise you, but they are proof of how this same emotion can be interpreted differently across different cultures. At some time or other, all of these animals have become symbols of our sunniest and most positive emotions.
Remember that symbolism is subjective. The below are examples of possible interpretations only, and may not be the correct interpretations for you and your situation.
List of Animals that Symbolize Happiness
Bats tend to have negative connotations in western culture, but this is not the case everywhere.
In Chinese culture, for example, bats are widely respected and often seen as a symbol of happiness and good fortune.
As a powerful positive symbol in Chinese culture, bat images are even used in Feng Shui as a way of attracting happiness to a home environment.
The same is also believed for bats with gold coins in their mouths, which are hung in the west or northwest of the family home.
More than any other animal, the bluebird is a renowned symbol of happiness. It also has related connotations of hope, joy, good news, and exuberance.
This happy little bird radiates positivity wherever it goes. It is not identical from culture to culture, of course, but happiness and joy seem to be two of the universally shared emotions that the bluebird represents.
For example, in Korea, the bluebird is seen as a literal messenger of God. But for Native Americans, the bird is associated with the sun and believed to be an embodiment of dawn – a perfect symbol of optimism, joy, and hope.
Canaries are also exceptionally strong symbols of happiness.
One reason we associate canaries with happiness is that they are yellow, and yellow birds symbolize happiness.
Read More: How The Color Yellow Represents Happiness
But their chirpy demeanor can also improve our moods and make us more upbeat. They jump around, sing, and play together, reminding us of the joy of life.
While canaries symbolize happiness, they also have other positive meanings, including enthusiasm, good fortune, freedom, and liveliness.
In Native American folklore and culture, the coyote is a guide on how to find contentment in life.
In particular, it is believed that this animal can teach us to seek joy and happiness and to let go of our fears and insecurities.
As a spirit animal, the coyote is believed to be an excellent guide in showing us how to live with more joie de vivre and to live more in the moment rather than obsessing over the past or future.
If a coyote appears in your dreams, it may be an indication that your ability to enjoy life is restricted by an uptight, overly serious attitude. The animal is trying to communicate to relax and find more peace of mind in order to find true joy in the day-to-day.
Dogs symbolize happiness because they tend to cheer us up when no humans can.
When you get home and your puppy is eagerly waiting for you at the front gate with a wagging tail, you can’t help but be overjoyed. They’re so purely happy to be around you and make no judgments.
That’s perhaps why we call a dog “man’s best friend”.
Interestingly, dogs can also symbolize depression, and this is specifically related to black dogs. Nevertheless, the most common and dominant association we have with dogs is that of happiness.
The playful, enthusiastic dolphin is the epitome of happiness and enjoyment of life.
This sea mammal is a symbolic reminder of the importance of finding joy in the important things, whether it’s in your hobbies, passions, or your relationship with family and friends.
Due to its joyful-sounding whistles and chirps, and its very playful nature, the dolphin has long been seen as a symbol of the inner child.
These animals have long been one of the most beloved of sailors and other seafarers, due to their friendly and sociable behaviors. As a spirit animal, the dolphin represents a happy, well-rounded, and calm personality that can be magnetic to many people.
In Chinese and Native American culture, the delightful dragonfly has a host of positive connotations. In particular, it is a symbol of happiness for both peoples.
Like the bat, the dragonfly is another symbol of happiness in Chinese culture and is used in Feng Shui to attract positive influences including happiness, success, peace, and harmony.
In Native American culture, particularly for the Navajo tribe, the dragonfly is a symbol of purity and happiness. The latter is said to be bestowed on whoever is fortunate enough to get close to the beautiful, jewel-like insect.
The dragonfly lives a short life, of only a few months. This iridescent insect can show us that no matter how short life is, it is important to live it to the fullest. Take the dragonfly as a sign that you should focus on living in the moment, and try not to focus on regrets or missed opportunities.
Read More: Dragonfly Symbolism
The hummingbird is seen by some cultures as a heavenly messenger, and so its presence and appearance are believed to denote happiness and good fortune.
In ancient American mythologies, particularly those of the Mayans and Aztecs, the hummingbird was a sacred animal. For the Incas, it was believed to be a direct messenger from God, consequently spreading happiness and joy with its presence. A very similar belief is held within Christianity also.
The image of the hummingbird, particularly as it suckles from flowers, encourages us to pay closer attention to the little things in life that can bring us joy. It is an excellent symbol to take heed of whenever you feel dissatisfied with life.
Read More: Otter Symbolism
What better symbol of happiness than the playful, energetic otter? These animals are sociable, friendly, and lively, making them the perfect representation of our sunniest emotion.
In spiritual terms, the symbol of the otter encourages us to seek out that which brings us joy and gives our life meaning. It is an indication to be more playful, take ourselves less seriously, and remind us of the things we are grateful for.
And like the otter, in order to take life less seriously, you should try to go with the flow – let the tides of life carry you along, rather than struggling against them.
How to Interpret Spiritual Symbolism
Interpreting symbolism and spiritual meanings is subjective and deeply personal. The symbolic meanings listed in this article are examples of potential interpretations, but might not be true for your situation.
Make sure you meditate and journal about your vision. Reflect on what you saw and think about what message you think is relevant to you and your life right now.
This doesn’t mean choosing the message you want to hear, but the one you think you need to hear at this point in your life. Only you can decide which meaning is the right one for your situation.
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Happiness and joy are some of the greatest emotions that one can experience, important enough that they can truly make life feel worth living. These animals are some of the boldest symbols of happiness in the animal kingdom.
Whether it is the unusual totem of the bat in China or the near-universal symbol of the bluebird, it seems every culture associates joy and happiness with specific animals. And these species often share other positive associations such as hope, good fortune, optimism, and more.
Hi! I’m Jessica and I’m a Gemini. My spirit animal is the mighty barn owl. It brings me wisdom when I need it most and guides me through the darkness. Thanks for reading this article!