Sunrise Symbolism (6 Top Meanings to Start the Day!)

What does sunrise symbolize? This might be a question that you might have asked yourself if you have recently experienced the calmness of a sunrise. Witnessing this event is a part of many people’s daily routines, knowing that it may have certain effects on their lives.

Sunrise symbolism is closely tied to new beginnings, which is why many people cherish it. Each dawn means a new opportunity to achieve greater things in life – it’s full of mystery of what each new day may bring to your life. Every day is new and full of new events and opportunities to do what you want to do.

Awakening is also one of the meanings we connect to the sunrise. Our bodies are just starting to wake up, getting ready for the new day. As an extension, we connect the sunrise to the event of birth – it’s essentially the birth of a new day. Sunrise symbolism has many deep and hidden meanings that you can use in your life.

Sunrise Symbolism

> This article is from our series on weather symbolism


Sunrise Symbolism Meanings

1. New Beginning

Experiencing a sunrise can be exciting. It marks your chance to achieve something new and experience happiness in the coming day. With each sunrise comes a new beginning and thus a chance to experience new things.

It gives you the chance to start the day on a positive note and set the tone for the rest of the day. Many people choose to start their days early and experience the sunrise for themselves. It is said it can promote your well-being and inspire positive feelings about the upcoming day.

Each sunrise is a new experience in itself, a new beginning. There are many sunrise quotes that may help you experience this feeling. One of the main ones by Jo Walton to help you inspire this feeling is the following: “There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.” 

2. Awakening

When the sun rises, we are just waking up. Our bodies are getting ready for the new day, and we might still be feeling a bit sleepy when the sun rises. It’s the beginning of the new day, as opposed to sunset symbolism, which is the end of the day, or rather, its death.

Many people choose to wake up with the sunrise and experience it themselves. It gives them the chance to awaken themselves and get a positive mindset before the day even starts.

3. Opportunity

When the sunrise occurs, it’s full of surprises and mystery. We don’t know exactly what the day ahead has to offer, but we’re certainly inspired to make the most of it. We feel the opportunity to go on and achieve something great this day.

It is said that we learn something new every day, and each sunrise represents the chance to cover up our mistakes and improve. Opportunity is around every corner – it’s just how we view it and how we make the most of it that counts.

4. Rebirth

Sunrise and sunset are commonly used together – they’re the opposites, where the sunrise represents the birth and rebirth as it happens each day, while the sunset represents death and a conclusion to a chapter. Each day starts with a sunrise, which is symbolic of the act of rebirth. 

Jung called this act the change from unconsciousness into consciousness. It’s practically an act of creation that we can also symbolize our transformation from being asleep and unconscious to being awake and fully conscious.

> See also: Sun Symbolism

5. Mystery

Even though we have goals and we strive to do our best every day, we just don’t know what each day will bring. That’s why a sunrise can be full of mystery, because it brings a lot of uncertainty with it, but also optimism for the day ahead.

But every day is different and unique, which is welcome since we need variety in our lives. And each sunrise brings its expectations for the new day as well as some surprises that are bound to hit us during the day.

6. Life

For some people, experiencing a sunrise every day is a must. They wouldn’t be able to survive without it, and it’s this life-giving force that brings out the sun and light, which is vital for us and other creatures to survive. 

To those who experience sunrises every day, life would be much different without this experience. It gives them the energy and the will to sustain even the most difficult challenges that life throws at them. Human life is also often connected to sunrise and sunset – the sun rises as we’re born, and it sets when we pass away.

Sunrise Symbolism in Literature

In literature, sunrise is often present together with the act of sunset, as the two go together and are unavoidable and inseparable parts of each day. When the sun rises, it marks the start of the journey, while the sunset represents the conclusion of the journey. They’re both symbolic of a cyclical nature of something.

One of the best quotes about this cyclical nature of the two comes from Vera Nazarian, who compares the sunrise to the childhood and the sunset to old age: 

Sunrise paints the sky with pinks and the sunset with peaches. Cool to warm. So is the progression from childhood to old age.”

Sunrises are also used to portray the beauty of nature and everything around us. We often forget to appreciate the beauty of the world around us, because we’re too often stuck inside our minds. For example, in the novel The Outsiders, sunset and sunrise are both used to portray the beauty and goodness of nature (see also: beauty metaphors).

In this novel, these two symbols are also used to portray the differences between human beings, and how in the end, we’re still the same. We can always find common ground with other people, no matter what their beliefs are or where they’re from, just like Cherry and Ponyboy can find common ground in the novel.

In Conan Doyle’s famous novel Sherlock Holmes, the author describes a sunrise as an unstoppable force of nature that can’t be controlled, giving us a feeling of how small and powerless we are against the force of nature. This is a passage that describes a sunrise in London:

“How sweet the morning air is! See how that one little cloud floats like a pink feather from some gigantic flamingo. Now the red rim of the sun pushes itself over the London cloud-bank. It shines on a good many folk, but on none, I dare bet, who are on a stranger errand than you and I. How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of Nature!”


Final Thoughts

Sunrises are beautiful to observe. They remind us that every day is full of new opportunities and ways to improve our lives and thrive. But they’re also there to remind us of the greatness of Nature and how uncontrollable and raw it is. In combination with the sunset, they represent the cyclical nature of things and how we’re all born and die.