MYTHS, TRADITIONS AND BELIEFS ASSOCIATED WITH GOLD
Gold has a deep rooted significance in Indian history, alluring people from different parts of the world with its beauty and charm. Its golden glow was visible across seas and borders, evoking emotions from millions of hearts. Over the years India’s infatuation with gold has grown stronger and stronger, with Indians accounting for most of the gold consumed globally.
Gold had a significant role in legend, symbolism and folklore. For example Greece, India and China have myths and legends about gold. The myths and legends have survived. They have been adapted to the general superstitions of today. In ancient Greece gold was a metal that was precious to the gods to the extent that they were dressed in gold.
Gold is mentioned in Greek mythology for examples as varied as King Midas, the Golden Fleece stolen by Jason who possessed the power of resurrection through to the Golden Apples of Hesperidins. The Golden Apples were guarded by the hundred-headed dragon Ladon. The dragon conferred immortality on whoever ate them.
Gold has always been associated with the eternal, the unending, incorruptible and embracing powers of the divine. The colour and lustre of gold continues to be associated with the sun and the sacred masculine. Mythological and legendary mentions of gold cover are referenced in all ancient literature. The Bible itself at least four hundred times references!
Gold has shaped and destroyed civilizations. Since ancient times, gold has been endowed with innate value due to qualities including its resistance to corrosion and tarnishing. It is often attributed supernatural properties by several religious practices and folkloric belief.
Why has this yellow metal captured the imagination and even obsessed throughout the ages?
Gold is a unique metal. Gold has a constant luster. Moreover, Gold will not tarnish, corrode or oxidise. Gold is malleable as it can be hammered paper thin and it will not shatter. The precious metal can be easily molded to fit upon, or create, almost any Statue or work of art. To that measure Gold is a Symbol for indestructible, eternal, and adaptable.
The colour of Gold does not fade due to the effects of time or the elements of Nature. A Gold coin, or a Golden object, which has been excavated after a thousand years, will come out of the ground in the same untainted condition today as when it was first buried either centuries, or millennia, ago. Because Gold will not tarnish, corrode, or fade in colour.
The metal is not only a Symbol for Immortality. It is a Symbol for any incorruptible Quest, Ambition, or Purpose. Gold is also a Symbol for ultimate Wisdom and ultimate Truth.
Although the Symbolism of Gold appears throughout mythology, legend, and folklore, we even find excellent examples of Gold's Symbolism the Tarot deck. The card of "The Fool", along with several other cards, contains a Golden Sky. The Quest, or the Purpose, Symbolized by these particular cards is taking place under the Shining Wisdom of the Eternal Heavens, and that spiritual perfection and superiority are the Lesson contained within that card.
If we look at the Financial Myths of gold, some of the myths have spawned volumes of detailed analysis.
Will Gold be a protection from a recession? While Gold has been a financial source of refuge, the maxim only holds true while the price of Gold increases to maintain the maim (or myth).
Can Gold be a protection from hyper-inflation? All commodities increase in price during a time of in hyper-inflation- the reason why it is called hyper-inflation. Gold may or may not perform any better that any other commodity.
Can Gold be meant as currency? Gold is not a currency nor will it ever be unless a jurisdiction decrees that it will. Gold coins are not legal tender. You cannot go into a supermarket and buy groceries with gold dust.
Does Gold hold its value in times of war? Examination of the price performance of Gold during wars y has proved gold does not hold its value in times of war. Indeed, people who have held Gold during times of war have been targets for robbery and murder.
Gold is similar to almost all other asset classes in terms of investor response to events. If Gold does not perform well over time, investors feel they are not getting any dividends or interest and look elsewhere for a better return. Periods occur where lower and middle end of the gold jewelry market is not doing much business. Business is flat.
The upper end of the jewelry market is not affected, as the rich will always buy whatever they want no matter the price, but that is only a small section of the jewelry market. Without a lower end market, prices could not keep going up and, like the housing market, the bubble bursts.
Gold as Fairy heirloom:
Gold is part of every Indian household and is considered a family heirloom by most Indians. Gold jewellery and ornaments are passed on from generation to generation, in a bid to keep family legacy alive. It is common for most households to pass on jewellery from a mother to a bride in weddings, irrespective of facts like change in design trends or value.
Gold is an extremely sentimental part of certain traditions and continues to remain a cherished heirloom. Passing gold from one generation to another also helps people save money on gold, avoiding ever rising gold prices in India.
Gold as Gift:
Gifting gold is considered auspicious in India, with gold gifts forming an integral part of all ceremonies. Gifting gold enables recipients to use it fruitfully, as it is not only a key source of money but is also considered lucky. It is common to gift gold during weddings, which can see brides bringing in huge quantities of gold to their new homes, which is considered auspicious.
Gold as Status:
In a social setting with billions of people, gold is one element which can help people stand out, literally shine in the crowd. Politicians, businessmen, actors, officials, all love to show their gold to the world, giving them new highs. Gold has been a status symbol in India since ages. The more gold one has the more power he/she has, an indication of their ability to purchase gold in spite of rising gold rates.
Gold as an Investment:
Gold has been considered the safest investment, a sentiment which Indians live by. It is this property of gold as a protector against bad times which have pushed Indians to buy it as investments. Owning gold is considered an extremely smart choice, and is reflected in the amount of gold Indians own. With gold prices fluctuating everyday it makes sense to invest in gold for a secure future.
Gold and Religion:
Gold is considered to be the best metal in Dharmashastras (religious books) because it does not rust. The brightness and glitter of gold is permanent. Hence, it is used for making ornaments for gods.
Similar to these beliefs, there are many other stories, religious anecdotes as well as personal experiences which back them. There are some people who may not agree to these, but irrespective, gold continues to remain the most precious and sought-after metal with or without these beliefs.
Gold investment has traditionally been a simple transaction involving physical possession. But over time, market evolution has brought about newer ways to invest in gold. One medium through which it can be traded is gold futures, which combine the gold market with the tenets of futures trading.