Today is International Fairy Day! Without further ado, let’s learn some fairy factoids!
Fairy, also spelled faerie, was originally a term used to describe just about any magical being. Today the focus is much narrower, and tends to describe elf-like, small, ethereal beings who are associated with forests and nature. This incarnation of the fairy derives from the folklore of England, which combines the elves of German myths with other beings from Celtic legend.
Though modern fairies are often depicted as generally “small”, their size varies greatly, ranging from as small as a song bird to as large as a human child. Most fairies are shown be able to fly, though the method varies: sometimes they ride on the backs of birds or insects, sometimes they use plant stems the way witches use broomsticks. Modern fairies, however, are most frequently shown with their own wings, usually those of a butterfly.
|Buttercup Fairy Figure||Iris Fairy Figure||Violet Fairy Figure|
Fairies are mischievous creatures, though much like their size can vary, so does the degree of their mischief-making. It can range from playing innocent pranks to more malicious behavior, like switching human babies with fairy imposters known as “changelings”. But don't worry - v arious protective charms have been proposed through the ages to avoid becoming the victim of a fairy trick. Everything from church bells to four leaf clovers were said to be effective against fairies, although bread is the surest bet. As a symbol of humanity’s power over nature, bread serves as a foil for the wild and untamed fairy folk.
|Fairy Tea Party Set||Fairy Pony Figure|
Though fairies are fictional entities, many hoaxes have been perpetuated through the years that claimed to prove their existence in the real world. The most well-known examples are undoubtedly the “Cottingley Fairies” photographs. In this series of pictures, two cousins are seen supposedly interacting with various tiny fairy-like beings in Cottingley, England. The photos caused quite a stir in 1920, and many believed they offered indisputable proof of these fantastical creatures existing and interacting with humans.
Though the photos might seem like obvious fakes when viewed today, many at the time were convinced, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the famous detective character Sherlock Holmes. The two cousins who took the photographs, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright, did not actually confess that they used tiny cut-out drawings to represent the fairies in the pictures until 1983, though by then very few people still believed in their authenticity.
|Rose the Fairy Queen Figure||Jasmine Fairy Figure||Bluebell Fairy Figure|
Fairies may not be real, but with Safari Ltd®’s figurines, you can create your own fairy photoshoot, or set up a beautiful fairy garden. There’s Rose the Fairy Queen, as well as Iris, Buttercup, Violet, and Bluebell, who’s perfect for posing on the Fairy Pony. The Fairy Fantasies® Tea Party Set lets you join a pair of fairies for afternoon tea, and the Fairy Fantasies® Designer TOOB® features six mini figurines, ready to take part in all kinds of tiny adventures. We can’t promise anyone will think they’re real, but that doesn’t make them any less fun to play with!
Bernie’s Bonus Fun Fact: One of the supposed signs of fairies nearby is the “fairy ring” – a naturally occurring phenomenon that involves mushrooms or other vegetation sprouting up in a circular pattern. According to folklore, this indicated a spot where fairies had danced in a circle. In reality, these rings are the end result of a growth that begins in the center of the circle and spreads out as the nutrients become used up. The mushrooms in the center of the ring die, leaving behind only those on the outer edge.