Symbolism

There is no great range of symbols unique to Humanism and none of any great age. The best known is perhaps the “Happy Human” symbol. This was the winning design in a competition in the 1960s and has been adopted and adapted by humanist organisations all around the world. It was chosen for its happy appearance, happiness and humanity being central concepts to humanists, and for its H-shape, standing for Humanism. The slightly higher arm on the left was intended to hold different national flags.

The meaning of the “Happy Human” symbol is easily understood, but it is a human creation and has no special or sacred status.

The “Happy Human” symbol is very distinctive, but humanists do not always choose to appear distinctive and many do not wear or display the symbol. It is useful as a well understood logo that links together many different humanist organisations around the world.

While they understand the symbolism and the need for symbolism of some faith groups, some humanists object to religious symbols being on permanent display in shared public spaces such as crematoria or schools because they feel excluded by them.

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