The meanings, origins and ancient traditions surrounding Christian symbols date back to early times when the majority of ordinary people were not able to read or write and printing was unknown. Many were 'borrowed' or drawn from early pre-Christian traditions.
The Definition and Meaning of the Swallow as a Catholic Christian Symbol
Catholic Christian symbolism in art provides a clear graphic illustration which represents people or items of religious significance and often appears in paintings of the Annunciation and the Nativity.. What is the definition and the meaning of the Swallow? The swallow is any one of numerous species of passerine birds of the family Hirundinid, specially one of those species in which the tail is deeply forked. They have long, pointed wings, and are noted for the swiftness and gracefulness of their flight. The Swallow Christian Symbol represents the Incarnation of Jesus and the Resurrection, as it appears every spring to announce its arrival.
Reference to the Swallow Christian Symbol in the Bible
The Easton Bible Dictionary provides the following definition, meaning and emblem for the Swallow Christian Symbol in the Bible.
(1.) Heb. sis (Isa. 38:14; Jer. 8:7), the Arabic for the swift, which "is a regular migrant, returning in myriads every spring, and so suddenly that while one day not a swift can be seen in the country, on the next they have overspread the whole land, and fill the air with their shrill cry." The swift (cypselus) is ordinarily classed with the swallow, which it resembles in its flight, habits, and migration.
(2.) Heb. deror, i.e., "the bird of freedom" (Ps. 84:3; Prov. 26:2), properly rendered swallow, distinguished for its swiftness of flight, its love of freedom, and the impossibility of retaining it in captivity. In Isa. 38:14 and Jer. 8:7 the word thus rendered ('augr) properly means "crane" (as in the R.V.).