Subject of the Month: 2024

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Rainbows in Culture Image

Selector: Rhonda McGinnis

“We are all part of the same rainbow. We are all reflections of each other. As unique and diverse as we are in character and skills, the source of all creation is as multidimensional as we are.” — Suzy Kassem

Rainbows have played many roles in cultures around the world.  Their bright, shining colors have embodied the ideas of hope and peace after turbulent times.  The way each color exists on its own yet joins cohesively with the others has been used to represent the power of diversity and its arched shape has led many to think of them a bridges to to another place. Explore this guide to learn about how they have been used as symbols of hope throughout history.

Indra and Rainbow

Indra and the Rainbow

Rainbow Serpent

Aboriginal Rainbow Serpent


Heimdall Calling Forth Bifrost

Noah'a Ark and the Rainbow

The Rainbow Covenant with Noah

Rainbows in Nature

Rainbow Pride Flag of the LGBTQ+ Community

Rainbow Coalitions in Politics

There have been 2 notable political movements in the United States to call themselves Rainbow Coalitions.

The First Rainbow Coalition began in 1969, when the Chicago Black Panther Party, led by Fred Hampton, formed alliances across lines of race and ethnicity with other community-based movements in the city to collectively confront issues such as police brutality and substandard housing.

On July 17, 1984, the Reverend Jesse Jackson delivered his famous "Rainbow Coalition" speech in San Francisco at the Democratic National Convention, In this speech asking for his nomination as the Democratic candidate for President, Jackson emphasized the diversity of the United States and outlined his Rainbow Coalition campaign to draw on the country’s racial, religious and economic diversity. 

Explore the links below to learn more about these significant moments in history.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic

rainbow window

During the COVID-19 pandemic families began to post or paint rainbows on their front windows as symbols of shard hope and as a way to connect with others during a period of profound isolation.  These websites provide a glimpse into this worldwide phenomena.

Rainbows in Religion and Mythology

people looking at rainbow

Rainbows in Other Aspects of Culture

rainbow bridge

Reading Rainbow

Logo of Reading Rainbow PBS Program

Rainbows in Cooking

Rainbow Jello