The word "halo" is translated from Latin as "cloud". It denotes the divine radiance depicted near the heads of Christian saints, which is a symbol of their purity and integrity.
It is believed that the halo can have various shapes and colors. Most often, on icons and paintings with the face of saints, the halo has a rounded shape, although there are triangular, five-pointed halos.
In some images of Christ, his nimbus has a cross inscribed inside it, it is called baptismal, this type of writing a nimbus is found in symbolic images.
Sign of greatness
The halo in the images of saints became a well-known attribute even in antiquity, and later became widespread in Christian art. Islamic art also uses the image of a halo in various miniatures, but in them it can belong not only to saints, but also to ordinary people. In Byzantium, it was customary to depict royal persons with a halo.
In the usual sense, the word "halo" appeared in Russian in the 19th century and was borrowed from German. Prior to that, in the images it was customary to call it "okrug", derived from the word "circle". At the same time, another name appeared - "crown", it was closer to the Catholic vision of this attribute, which really, as if crowned the head.
The appearance of a halo
There are quite a few versions about the origin of the halo, but most likely, its appearance is associated with the beliefs of the Greeks, who believed that the gods, appearing in human form, emit radiance, their whole body is illuminated with radiance from the ether. At first, this was assimilated by people with the help of literary descriptions, and then it was reflected in painting and sculpture.
At that time, it was difficult to depict a person completely surrounded by sacred radiance in a picture, from which artists began to designate him conditionally, surrounding them only with the space near the head. Later, the image of such a radiance was adopted by other cultures, as well as by religious Christians. In Orthodoxy, the halo acquired the meaning of a symbol of belonging to the depicted as a saint.
Halo in religions
The vision and meaning of a halo in Christianity is different. So, in the works of Catholic art, the halo is depicted as a ring over the head of a saint, which is a symbol of a reward from above for his righteousness and faith, in Orthodoxy it is depicted as a radiance, representing the enlightenment of the spirit. The halo is endowed with a similar meaning in Islam.
In Buddhism, similar images are also present, often they mean strength of mind, spiritual power, different from secular power. In Buddhism, the depicted halos can be blue or yellow, as well as rainbow colors. The nimbus of the Buddha is depicted in red.