Rain Symbolism (7 Meanings in Literature and Spirituality)

Rain can be a relaxing event that can make you peaceful as you hear the calming raindrops on your window sill. For many people, the rain can make them cozy and create inner peace in them. For others, the rain symbolism is far different – it can be a symbol of cleansing and clarity.

But there are also some other meanings of rain. It can be used as a symbol of sadness and melancholy, which is especially typical in literature and works of art, as well as movies. It’s also a common symbol of romance, as it’s used in many romantic movies and romantic literature, especially in those famous scenes where protagonists make love in the rain.

Rain symbolism has many different meanings. It’s a very wide-ranging symbolism that can have different implications when used in different settings. Let’s take a look at some of the main meanings of rain and how it’s used in literature and movies.

> This article is from our series on weather symbolism

Rain Symbolism: 7 Meanings

What are some of the main meanings we connect to rain?

1. Cleansing

Rain cleanses the dirtiness and pollution physically, but also mentally. This rain symbolism is commonly seen in movies where it’s used as a sort of cathartic quality that cleanses one’s soul. It acts as this redeeming event that can free one’s soul and remove all the bad thoughts and negativity out of one’s mind.

But rain is also good for cleansing the air and removing pollution. Have you ever seen how clean the air is after a rainfall? You’ll probably be able to see for miles and miles, which was previously not possible.

2. Sadness and Depression

Rain can also undertake a fairly negative role, in that it might inspire feelings of sadness and depression. When it rains, it’s dark, which might bring out negativity and empower the negative feelings and thoughts within us.

That’s why you might feel the blues when it rains. It’s scientifically correct that rain might cause feelings of sadness, and that’s why many people don’t like rain. This negative meaning of rain is commonly depicted in movies to inspire melancholy and feelings of sadness and depression (more on that later).

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3. Calmness

Perhaps surprisingly, there’s a calming quality of rain, too. When it rains calmly and when there is no wind, it might even be a symbol of calmness. But that’s different when a storm comes by and sweeps up everything in front of it.

It forces us to retreat indoors and take a moment to think about ourselves and our surroundings. While some people might not like this, it’s a good opportunity for many to take a closer look at their feelings.

Also, rain is often welcome for many trying to fall asleep. It can be calming listening to raindrops fall on the window sill as you’re trying to fall asleep or calm down from a stressful day. 

4. Obstacle

Rain is also often an obstacle that prevents someone from achieving a greater goal. It can be quite unpleasant to be outside when it rains, so it prevents us from going outside in the first place.

That’s why it’s earned its reputation for being a symbol of negativity and as an obstacle. But in movies, for instance, it’s used as a symbol to portray a character’s mental strength and determination in order to overcome this problem.

5. Rebirth and Growth

Without rain and water, life on earth would be impossible. It’s responsible for keeping the life cycle alive, as it helps flowers and species on Earth grow. It provides them with fluids in order to keep alive and keep growing and keep the life cycle going. 

Lakes would empty and seas would drain without adequate portions of rain. And when there would be no water on earth, life would be practically impossible. Even though it might be unpleasant when it rains, it’s necessary for keeping us alive and for keeping other species alive, too.

This rebirth idea is even more pronounced at the end of the rain, when the rainbow arrives and the clouds part to reveal the sun and a new day.

> Read Also: Growth Metaphors

6. Fertility

Rain creates fertile ground. Back when people had no irrigation systems, they relied heavily on rain to help them grow their crops. But when there was no rain, their crops wouldn’t grow, which would result in poverty and famine. 

Today, we’ve developed different systems for growing plants, but rain is still essential for growth and fertility. Some Indian peoples and Egyptians used the rain symbol to portray fertility, and it was often seen as a symbol of good luck which would help them grow more crops and survive more comfortably.

7. Change

When it rains, the weather changes. There’s a well-known saying that says “the sun always shines after the rain”, which means that rain is necessary in order for positive change to happen.

We can connect that with almost all our difficulties in life. It might be difficult at the start, but it’s absolutely necessary to allow us to change and grow. Without rain, there would be no change.

Rain Symbolism in Literature and Film

Because of its highly symbolic nature, rain is commonly used in literature and films. It can have several different meanings, so let’s take a look at some of them.

1. Foreshadowing

Rain is often used as a predicting symbol in movies. It can symbolize that the story is about to take a negative turn, or that negative events are about to happen. In movies, rain might start to fall right before a big event, or it might coincide with the event.

It might happen before a traumatic scene in the movie, for instance. Dark clouds are present, and there might be heavy rainfall to inspire feelings of anticipation in viewers.

> Read Also: Cloud Metaphors

2. Romance

Rain is commonly present in romance movies, especially where it’s used as a symbol of love. This leads to many scenes of “kissing in the rain” and other romance scenes where rain is used as a background event to encourage the feeling of romance.

The list of movies where rain is falling during a romantic scene is wide. Some of the most well-known ones include Spiderman, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Notebook, Singin’ in the Rain, A Cinderella Story, Australia, and several others.

3. Determination

When a character goes through a tough period during a movie, there might be a scene where the character is seen walking through the rain. This rain might symbolize a traumatic event that might have happened to the character, and it’s almost an effect that’s used to inspire some sympathy for the character.

However, it normally happens that the character is able to withstand the storm and move through the rain. This is used to portray the determined character of the protagonist where the protagonist overcomes the rain.

Conclusion

rain symbolismHave you ever wondered what rain can symbolize? You might have associated with negative feelings only, but rain can have several other meanings. Rain symbolism represents cleansing, calmness, growth and fertility, and even rebirth.

It’s also a favorite symbol for moviemakers and literature writers who use rain as a symbol of foreshadowing. It’s also commonly present in romantic scenes but also to portray a protagonist’s high level of mental strength.

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