The sun has been a symbol of power, growth, health, passion and the cycle of life in many cultures and religions throughout time. Some believe it is a representation of the higher self, while others see the sun as a god to be worshiped.
The sun is revered because of its ability to create life, making crops grow to sustain villages. Native American tribes usually included sun symbols in stories documented through art and passed down through the generations. In Egyptian culture, a winged sun disc symbol stood for protection. The Egyptians also worshiped the sun god Ra.
In Chinese culture, it is a "yang" symbol associated with heat, masculine attributes and heaven. Many see the sun as a representation of the cycle of life because of its cycle throughout the day. It rises at dawn with the beginning of life for the day and eventually must "die" or set.
In 20th century pop culture, the sun gives superhuman strength to comic book hero Superman. Such strength allows him to protect and rescue people in danger.
Sunlight is necessary for the absorption of vitamin D. It also speeds up recovery from injuries. A study on multiple sclerosis, for instance, found that sunlight decreased mortality in those who had the condition.