Why a Conch Shell
Cultural & Functional Symbolism
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Locally in the Virgin Islands, the conch shell was/is a musical instrument often used to call people together. Conch shells are also often used to notify people about the start of a program or ceremony, and historically they basically symbolize communicating that something has already or is about to happen. Much of the history and people of the Virgin Islands are descendant or directly related to African ancestry.
The conch is used in Tibetan Buddhism to call together religious assemblies. During the actual practice of rituals, it is used both as a musical instrument and as a container for holy water.
As a proclaiming battle horn, the conch is akin to the bugle. It is an emblem of power, authority and sovereignty whose blast is believed to banish evil spirits, avert natural disasters, and scare away poisonous creatures.
In China, some believe conch shells can bring good luck and ensure a positive experience in the afterlife. In Islam, the conch shell represents hearing the divine word, while ancient Greeks and Romans used the conch shell to symbolize their respective sea deities.
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The adinkra symbolism behind the conch shell is explained in the text below.
NEA ONNIM NO SUA A, OHU
"He who does not know can know from learning"
a symbol of knowledge, life-long education and the continued quest for knowledge