A fairy is one of the most popular and common mythical beings seen in popular entertainment sources and different folklores. In comparison to other fantasy creatures seen in different representations, the fairy is unique and different. A fairy is usually considered a friendly and benevolent creature, but there are also some common references where fairies are known to do evil and mischievous things. They are also sometimes described as very evil (although such references are very rare).
The word fairy itself is very interesting, and it is commonly accepted that the word fairy is not a fixed and only term for such a magical creature, and different versions and forms of the word "fairy" like a faerie, fee, fae, and fee are accepted in literature and common culture. The most common word to describe a fairy is "fairy" itself. The word fairy is derived from the Latin word "fata", which in turn comes from the french word "faerie". "faerie" is an old French word, and it literally means enchantment, which is perfect for describing a fairy as fairies are directly related to magic, and are considered supernatural, magical creatures with different powers.
The Italians commonly use the word "fata" to describe fairies in their culture, and the word "fee" is common in old French legends and romances, where this word means a woman who is skilled in enchantment and magic, again perfectly representing the modern definition of the word. So, all these words can be easily used in place of each other, and there are no issues regarding the nomenclature.
What a fairy actually does and what does it technically means is very debatable and uncertain. It is because fairies are very common in different cultures and folklore around the world, especially in Europe, and they have slightly different meanings and characteristics in different cultures. If you ask somebody today that what is a fairy according to them, then you will commonly get an answer that a fairy is a magical creature that is small and pretty, usually women, and she possesses magical powers to help others and can grant wishes to people who are good, helpful, and kind.
This definition of a fairy is now considered correct, as in modern culture, they are depicted in the same exact sense as they are described above. In different forms of popular entertainment, fairies are usually portrayed as magical angels who range in size anywhere from the size of a flower to the size of a baby.
You will see that fairies are mentioned in Celtic folklore, Germanic folklore, Slavic folklore, English folklore, and French folklore, along with many other popular cultures. In all these popular folklores and legends, the abilities and characters of fairies have slight variations. In some cultures, fairies are considered very powerful and mighty, where they protect humans from dangerous evil forces just like other mythical beasts like the centaurs. On the other hand, in some cultures, you will see that fairies are portrayed as weak small supernatural creatures who, at best, can only help humans in giving hints and information, and their magical powers are not actually useful in real life.
Still, what is common in all the depictions of fairies is that they are considered mythical and supernatural, and they are known to help humans from time to time, although they are a little mischievous and naughty too.
It is important to understand what a fairy actually is, and we will give you all the information you need on fairies, what they are and what they do, literally everything, read this detailed article and expand your magical knowledge.
Faerie or Fairie
What is a Fairie. Are the tiny creatures fallen angels?
Fairies are an important part of the Irish mythology world, and fairies have been described in different Irish art forms and entertainment forms. There aren't many connections between fairies and the legends of popular Greek mythology, and fairies are not a very big part of the Greek mythological universe. However, you will get common references to nymphs in ancient Greek folklore. Nymphs can be described as minor female deities. These are considered by some as the Greek versions of fairies.
As a lot of popular folklores and cultures have common references to fairies, they are shown in slightly different and dynamic forms in cultures, and small changes are common between the fairy representations of any two cultures. The size of fairies is not fixed, but they are always shown and depicted in small sizes, usually ranging from the size of a small flower to the size of small babies. Unlike other popular mythical creatures, fairies are usually portrayed as human-like looking figures who, although they have special magical powers, look like normal people.
The interesting thing about the sizes of these fairies is that fairies are known for changing their sizes. There are common citations in history where tiny fairies increase their sizes to look like real humans. After increasing their size, fairies sometimes do mischievous things, and almost all cultures represent a fairy as a naughty little creature whose intentions are almost always pure, but they use unconventional and interesting methods to achieve their goals.
On Orkney, fairies are even seen wearing armour, which is a very notable and interesting representation of these magical beings. Wings are very commonly seen in fairies. However, wings were rarely a part of the original fairy related folklore of different cultures, and they were known to fly by using magic and through the help of other creatures like the famous unicorns. In the Victorian era, fairies started having wings in artwork and entertainment forms, which continues till now.
The wings on fairies became very famous, and now our first thought about a fairy usually revolves around a tiny magical creature with wings.
History of fairies and are there fairies in real life?
The history of fairies is a little different than what a common person would normally expect, as the modern idea of a fairy is not identical to the description and idea of fairies when they were first mentioned in ancient scriptures and ancient references. Today we consider a fairy to be a cute little creature that has magical power and flies with a beautiful set of wings. The way fairies were portrayed when they first originated in literature and folklore is very different from the common entertainment representation. Fairies were first mentioned in Greek mythology, where they were described as Nymphs.
Nymphs were considered supernatural creatures who protected our earth with special magical powers. However, the way fairies are depicted today started in the 13th century when they started gaining popularity in English culture, where they were described as mini people, sometimes they were mentioned with wings, and sometimes they didn't have wings. So we know that wings were not an essential part of fairies originally.
The characters of the first fairies were also not fixed, and they were sometimes described as good creatures and sometimes described as evil as well. This concept then developed with time, and fairies were given the title of "fallen angels" or "demoted angels". It meant that people had a general opinion of them, fairies were considered good, and as they were not bad enough for hell, they were not sent there, but they weren't also good enough to get entry into heaven.
This description and point of view about fairies was largely influenced by English mythological beliefs and views, as well as of the Christian church. With time, the fairies entered an interesting phase of their history, where fairies were divided into different forms, and new characters also originated in popular fiction. These characters were sometimes related to fairies and sometimes considered fairies too. These magical characters included the famous mermaids, goblins, gnomes, elves, enchanters, pixies, gremlins, genies, and many other mythical creatures.
The Irish mythology had a very high and respected thought about fairies. Unlike other popular cultures and mythologies, the Irish culture kind of revered fairies, and they belonged to Tuatha de Dannan, which is a caste and race of gods and goddesses, much powerful and superior to humans. Then the culture around fairies evolved, new stories and legends were created, different fables in folklore came into existence.
Famous artists started using fairies in their creations as symbols of magic, power, superiority, mischief, goodness, etc. This way, fairies became an indispensable part of common folklore in different European regions. Although due to cultural differences, the complete thought processes on fairies and their characteristics varied from culture to culture, the primary and overall identity of these supernatural beings in oral tradition and written accounts remained somewhat similar.
Fairies are demonstrated as characters of both genders, and both female fairies and male fairies exist in the common culture, but female fairies are more popular. These became a normal part of mythical life and elements as they started appearing in popular entertainment and artworks like paintings, books, sculptures, and songs.
You can see the references of fairies in the works of famous painters and writers. If you like the old stories about powerful wizards then you might have read about these tiny flying creatures before.
Flying fairies and faerie magic
Fairies in popular folklore are considered magical creatures, and like all magical creatures, they also have some special powers and abilities, which can be termed supernatural or metahuman. The primary thing that a fairy is supposed to do is to fly, which is very easy to comprehend as fairies are usually seen with a set of wings that look like butterfly wings. It is true that fairies can fly, but according to ancient cultural texts, we come to know that fairies are not dependent on their wings for flying. Fairies can do a lot of supernatural action as they are magical creatures.
They can fly on their own, without wings. You can see ancient references, including fairies, where they simply used to hover in the air without any extra help. In modern fantasy entertainment, it is also shown that fairies are the friends of animals, and they take the help of various animals to fly and to reach from one place to another quickly.
It is also believed that fairies have very strong intuition and sensing powers. Fairies are known for having a great talent for hearing wishes. In common cultures, it is shown that fairies have an obsession with fulfilling the wishes of people through their magical powers. Supposedly fairies can hear whispers travelling in the air, and after hearing a wish, they come to know who has thought of that wish, then the fairies reach that person and help in fulfilling hir or her wishes.
As they are often associated as wish fulfillers, fairies are known to have expert communications skills, and they can speak every single language that exists in this world. Also, fairies have different magical powers that can make you happy. Fairies can detect if you have a bad mood. If you feel bad, then they will feel bad too. Fairies can detect when you have a bad dream, and they will turn that bad dream into a good dream for you. Fairies are also known to have power for detecting shiny things, fairies love things like buttons, paperclips, and shining charms, and they like to take such things with them.
Although we know you would never want to scare away a fairy, but some people don't think of fairies as very benevolent mythical creatures, and they want to stay away from them. So, there are some protective charms that you can keep with yourself to drive fairies away. These include church bells, cold iron, four-leaved clovers, and others.
Are fairies evil or good, or just fairy stories?
A lot of discussions can be done on the true nature of fairies. You will find people debating over fairies, and some think that fairies are exemplary magical creatures that always benefit humans and are always there to help us. Some people will say that fairies are nothing but evil representations of the magical world who don't possess even a fraction of goodness, and they disturb us with their mischiefs every now and then. Many people also don't have a strong point of view regarding them, majorly because fairies are depicted in different ways in different sources, in popular modern entertainment and in classical folklore too.
Fairies are shown as very saintly and godlike in Disney creations. Disney is the primary producer of media for your audiences and children, and they have created a lot of fantasy movies on fairies too, which is understandable as fairies are loved by children, and they are a very important part of children's fiction. In direct contrast to it, fairies in medieval romances and medieval literature are shown in a pretty different manner. Their fairies are shown as magical creatures who aren't much into humans and their lifestyle. They live their own life and punish people if they get into their affairs.
When you read both the modern era creations and classic fairy folklore/fair folk, we get to know that fairies are actually neither good nor bad. Fairies are simple mythological creatures who generally consider humans their friends but do not tolerate any nonsense. So, if you are good to fairies and you respect them, then fairies will use their magical powers and nature spirits to help you.
However, if you try to be over smart with these mischievous creatures, like troubling them or destroying their homes, then they will use their supernatural powers to make sure that you learn a good lesson. According to a popular Irish myth, fairies can even transform things, and there are references where fairies have turned gold in bags into mere plant leaves.
Image of Fairies
Do real pictures of fairies exist?
It is commonly debated whether do fairies exist in real life or do they not? People have their own opinions about the existence of fairies, and everybody has their own theory regarding their existence. This is not a new point of debate, and people have been discussing this for several centuries. Everybody is interested in knowing are fairies real. Some years ago, a lot of people were left in wonder when the Cottingley fairies appeared.
The Cottingley fairies were a bunch of fairies that appeared in some photographs that two cousins took in England. It is a famous incident in history that shook the mythological and magical perception of people like nothing else. It all started when two little girls, Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, claimed that fairies are real, and they regularly play with fairies near their house.
As expected, nobody believed their story, and they were ridiculed for having such nonsensical thoughts. Enraged by this, Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths decided that they would get proof of their claim. They then arranged a camera, and they got pictures of themselves playing with fairies. They took five pictures and showed them to everyone. These pictures instantly became super famous and gained a lot of attraction.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who created the popular Sherlock Holmes character, also believed that these pictures were genuine, as he too was a spiritual person who believed in a lot of mythical and supernatural ideas. These pictures showed small beautiful women with wings playing with the girls. After seeing these unique pictures, many people started believing these mischievous creatures and changed the perception of god knows how many people.
At the same time, there were many who didn't believe that these faeries were real and said that these pictures were fake. Even today, some people consider these pictures to be real, and some people disagree with them. Whether real or not, these pictures were truly sensational, and after their discovery, many artists and popular entertainment creators started including them in their works and arts.
Entertainment and movies about Fairies
Fairies are featured in a lot of fiction movies and children-friendly titles as they are very cute and loving characters. The nature of fairies is very interesting and amusing, they are considered very smart mythical creatures, and they behave in the way we behave with them. If you do good to them, then they reward you, and if you trouble them, then they will gracefully return that trouble, this interesting character of fairies makes them the perfect choice for fantasy entertainment creations, and they add a sparkling element to the titles.
You will find fairies in many movies, one of the most famous cinematic production related to fairies are the Peter Pan movies. No discussion about fairies in movies is complete until we talk about this masterpiece that has been so popular and famous that it has been depicted numerous times on the big screen. Tinkerbell in Peter Pan is the most famous fairy that has ever existed in the entertainment world, and this cute magical creature has been so famous that it has her own separate franchise, and she has her own tv series and movie range. Even though Tinkerbell never speaks, she expresses perfectly through her adorable actions what a fairy is and how does she think.
Fairies also increase the cuteness and beauty of many other popular cinematic titles like "Rise of the Guardians", where a fairy is shown in a hummingbird-like avatar. Disney's Sleeping Beauty is another popular kids-friendly title that features fairies, and there are 3 fairies in Sleeping Beauty, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, who are extremely good and are the prime source of comedy in that Disney classic.
In good folk and other traditions all around the world, fairies are represented as hospitable and friendly creatures, and these amazing movies perfectly represent it. There are also some movies where faeries are shown in a not so good role, like Hellboy 2 and Pan's Labyrinth.
Games and Fairies
Fairie is a supernatural race with magic powers
Along with ruling the entertainment world through constantly being part of great movies and tv shows, fairies are also an important part of many video games. The gaming producers know how powerful and influential these magical hidden people living in the Scottish Highlands are, who have been the centres of many fantasy creations of the middle ages. Although there is no concrete scientific reason that would confirm that fairies exist in real life, people still strongly believe in them and love them dearly. Not just small people, but young and adult people too, everybody seems to love these magical creatures evenly.
What would be better proof of a common modern depiction of fairies than the video game industry? For the past two decades, video games have become extremely popular, and fictional titles are some of the most popular and looked video games. These fantasy titles let you explore the mysterious world of fiction unlike anything else, and fantasy game creators are regularly on the hunt for fantasy elements that they can use in their games to make them even more interesting and exciting. Fairies are the perfect fantasy beings for inclusion in gaming titles. Fairies are not very specific, and they have been portrayed in history in various forms and roles, making them perfect for games. Gamers have never been affected by the questionable existence of fairies, which is an added bonus.
Here are some good fairy inspired gaming titles:
The famous fairie and Disney Fairies
The portrayal of fairies in modern entertainment sources has been widely popular and appreciated. People love games and novels that include fairies, and they also help in increasing the popularity of the fantasy genre in general. However, the way movies and cinema has depicted fairies and has created a lasting impression on our minds, and such titles are sensational. Just some fairy titles have created a separate fan base for fairy-inspired movie titles. One such fairy that has created a sensation in fairy inspired movies is Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell is clearly the most famous fairy that has ever existed.
Tinkerbell was first mentioned in the children's play Peter Pan, which was then adapted into a film, and then it was again transformed into the remake of Peter Pan. During this journey, Tinkerbell has won the hearts of numerous children and adults alike. Tinkerbell became so famous that it is even considered more popular than Peter Pan himself. This popularity of Tinkerbell forced its creators at Disney to launch more movies based on it, and as a result, Tinkerbell has its own series of movies and tv shows now.
The team at Disney had to create a separate franchise to cope up with the increasing demand for this magical fairy. The part that amuses people the most is that in the Peter Pan movie, Tinkerbell doesn't speak, and it still managed to get this popular and known. Tinkerbell is a very lovable and friendly character, and she is shown in a very helpful avatar too.
However, Tinkerbell doesn't let anyone annoy her, and she takes good care of those who try to trouble her and get away with it.
Tinkerbell is not the only fairy in Disney's movie collection, and there are several other fantasy creations that have been majorly influenced by fairies. Some of these movies are Cinderalla, Pinnochio, Fantasia, Snow White, and The Beauty and the Beast. All of these movies include these little magical beings, and they help the characters. In general, Disney movies, like many other animation movie houses, portray fairies in a very positive sense and show them as friendly creatures who help in making good things happen.
This is in contrast with the image of fairies in popular ancient folklore and mythological culture of many regions. If we look into the old scriptures and classic references of fairies in the past, then we come to know that fairies were actually considered neutral characters who were depicted in both good ways and bad ways, unlike Disney movies of today, where they are shown only as good creatures. Several old texts and arts have references that show that fairies also used to be bad creatures with malicious thoughts, and they tried to cause problems for fun.
This was the original portrayal of fairies in classic popular culture and folklore. In alot of the classic stories about fairies you will also meet creatures like the pegasus horse.
Are Fairies Real?
Dark elves, Nature fairies and magical powers
Regular debates and discussions take place to clarify whether fairies are actual real creatures that existed in history (or exist now too) or are they just some myths that have been very popular, and we now have started to accept them as an essential part of our mythical culture. Although no scientific proof has been found regarding fairies till now, certain incidents like the fairy photographs taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths surely give rise to a lot of doubts and questions. People have also claimed many times that they have spotted fairies in real life, and these claims are very common.
So, even if there is no scientific evidence confirming their existence, we can't just simply confirm that they never existed, and it remains a mystery. As the situation currently is, there has been no fresh development in this debate on the existence of fairies, and it looks like we won't be able to confirm our doubts for many years to come.
Whether real or not, fairies have strongly influenced the way we see and think about the fantasy world, and they have been shaping our beliefs about the mythological world for many centuries. Fairies have been in popular entertainment for many years. Several great artists believed in them, and they have featured them in their art. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed in fairies, and he wrote a separate book on them.
The most renowned English writer, William Shakespeare, also believed in the fair folk, and he wrote Midsummer Night's Dream, which is entirely based on fairies. Other sources that show that people strongly believe in fairies in the modern era are the names of some places, which are named after fairies in general, or after some particular fairy, like Fairy Hill, Fairy Mound, and Fairy Forts.
In the end, we would like to ask you about your opinion, are you the kind of proof person who won't consider anything without concrete scientific proof, or do you believe in the various claims and sightings? What do you think about these intriguing little creatures of the magical world?
Do you think fairies ever existed on this earth? Maybe our new article about dragons is more your kind of fantasy?
Magical Fairie Wishes
Shazzy Davies, author of the article.