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What does snow symbolize?

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Quick Answer

In both traditional and modern media, deep snow represents hardships and death. Snow can also symbolize individuality, changes and transformation or new beginnings in various cultures.

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What does snow symbolize?
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Full Answer

Traditionally, snow signifies winter and the end of the growing season. Because of its relation to the end of growth in the natural world, snow if often linked to death and hardships. For example, early Americans gathered food during the spring, summer and fall to use during the winter months. Anyone who failed to gather his crops during the growing season experienced difficulties during the winter months, and some early settlers starved as a result of winter snows. Eastern cultures also use the color white to represent mourning and death, and as of 2014 snow is often used in modern media to foreshadow upcoming wars. Deep and falling snow is particularly used to represent hardships or death.

Melting snow can be used to symbolize a new beginning or the end of hardships. Because snow covers everything and changes a familiar landscape into something new, it can also be associated with transformation. For instance, snow is often used to depict a life-changing situation.

Snow is often compared to innocent or unblemished things in literature. For example, in Shakespeare's "Cymbeline," the story compares a woman's chasteness to "unsunned snow." Snow is also used to symbolize tranquility and beauty in some literature and media.

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