Unicorns! My six-year-old niece wanted one thing, and only one thing, for Christmas this past year: a stuffed unicorn. And it’s not just her. Folks across the country and around the world seem caught up in a unicorn frenzy. But why?
Just Why Are Unicorns so Popular?
It’s true; unicorns are pretty much everywhere in products and services, in commercials, in tv shows; you can’t go anywhere without running into a unicorn. How did this happen?
In the 1970s, hippies favored unicorns on t-shirts and posters. This was an outgrowth of the psychedelic movement. Trapper Keepers, folders, and Lisa Frank stickers became all the rage for tween students in the 1980s.
In the 1990s, Hasbro Toys noticed the popularity of unicorns and decided to add them to their successful My Little Pony line. By the early 2010s, a nostalgia wave had hit the U.S., and it was only natural that unicorns would ride that rainbow wave.
Instagram has stated that they have 7.5 million photos tagged with #unicorn, and there are thousands of searches of the word unicorns on Google every day. According to Google searches were at an all-time high in 2019.
YouTube has dozens of tutorials on making unicorn cupcakes and using unicorn makeup. The LGBTQ community has adopted unicorns and their accompanying rainbows for the Pride movement and parades.
The development of “unicorn toast” (a concoction of toasted bread covered with multi-colored cream cheese) added to their popularity, as did the 2017 Niki Minaj music video for her song “Make Love.” The video features Ms. Minaj floating on an oversized unicorn pool float.
The popularity is undeniable and has led to the use of phrases like “unicorn boyfriend” (the mythical perfect boyfriend who can do no wrong) and “unicorn hair” (either unique pastel colors or a rainbow of multi-colored hair). Face it; unicorns are everywhere.
It appears as though the animal’s uniqueness and its associated magical qualities are a hit with many types of people. Perhaps, folks like standing out from the crowd? Or, maybe the unicorn’s uniqueness hits home for those who feel not part of the bigger group? More than anyone thing, unicorns seem to hold a soft spot in many of our imaginations.
Unicorn Quiz: True or False?
1.) Marco Pollo believed that he had stumbled across real unicorns, but he called them ugly brutes. True or False?
True, it turns out what Marco Pollo was looking at were rhinoceroses.
2.) During the Dark Ages, it was written that virgins could exert strange magical power over unicorns. True or False?
True, in scientific journals called bestiaries, it was written that virgins had certain powers over unicorns and that the horns of unicorns had great medicinal powers and could cure many diseases.
3.) Unicorns poop rainbows and fart clouds of cotton candy. True or False?
False; marketers dreamed this up to make unicorns even more magical.
4.) Supposedly, Genghis Khan decided not to conquer India when he encountered a unicorn that bowed to him. True or False?
True, Khan believed that the unicorn was giving him a sign from his dead father, and India was spared.
5.) The first known depiction of a unicorn was found in cave paintings in France and dates back to 15,000 BC. True or False?
False; while cave art in France that was dated to 15,000 BC does appear to depict a unicorn, upon closer inspection, the animal in the drawing had two horns.
6.) Scotland’s National Animal is the unicorn. True or False?
True, King James III was particularly fond of the magical creatures and had gold coins minted that included the unicorn and half unicorn.
7.) It is said that the King James Version of the bible contains nine references to unicorns. True or False?
False, it’s a case of poor translation; the real Hebrew word likely meant a wild ox.
Tougher Unicorn Trivia
8.) Unicorn horns sold for 10 times the price of old and were sold in powder form in London as late as 1741. True or False?
True, unicorn horns (actually the horn from a species of porpoise) were ground up and sold as a medicinal powder for the very wealthy because the horns were so rare.
9.) The earliest written description of a unicorn dates back to the 5th century BC. True or Fales?
True, the Greek historian Ctesias described a unicorn as having the white body of a stallion, a purple-colored head, Bright blue eyes, and a multi-colored single horn.
10.) Unicorn horns could counteract poison, purify water, and cure impotence. True or False?
False, powdered unicorn horns had absolutely no medicinal qualities, but this misconception continued through most of the Middle Ages.
11.) The writings of William Shakespeare and C.S. Lewis both featured unicorns. True or False?
True, Shakespeare wrote about unicorns three separate times in his plays Julius Caesar, Timon of Athens, and The Tempest. While C.S. Lewis has a talking unicorn in his book Through the Looking Glass.
Check out these unicorn quotes and sayings.
You may have stopped believing in unicorns, but they never stopped believing in you.
The people that see them share some of the unicorn’s traits – they’re lonely, with virtuous hearts.
A wise man never plays leapfrog with a unicorn.
There are wild elephants in the country and numerous unicorns, which are nearly as big.
Marco Polo (Perhaps confusing rhinos with unicorns)
God himself must need to be traduced if there is no unicorn in the world.
The unicorn was white, with hoofs of silver and a graceful horn of pearl. The glorious thing about him was his eye. There was a faint bluish furrow down each side of his nose, and this led to the eye sockets and surrounded them in a pensive shade. The eyes, circled by this sad and beautiful darkness, were so sorrowful, lonely, gentle, and nobly tragic.
Dreams are the playground of unicorns.
Of all the legendary animals of art, folklore, and literature, the Unicorn is the one with the greatest hold on our imaginations. Other fabulous beasts are clearly inventions, existing only in a mythical landscape of our own collective creation. But the Unicorn strikes us as more than imaginary. It seems possible, even probable – a creature so likely that it ought to exist.
“Unicorns,” she whispered. Rahela nodded. “The most beautiful of all the Mother’s children.”
Jennifer Roberson, The Court of the Summer King
All the beasts obeyed Noah when he admitted them into the ark. All but the Unicorn. Confident of his own abilities, he boasted, “I shall swim.”
A Ukrainian Folk Story
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Unicorn Frappuccino at Starbucks
Probably one of the most famous unicorn embodiments is the Unicorn Frappuccino from Starbucks. The Starbucks unicorn drink was introduced in 2017, and people went crazy.
What is in Unicorn Frappuccino?
The frothy drink consists of ice, milk, pink powder, sour blue powder, crème Frappuccino syrup, mango syrup, and a sugary blue syrup drizzle. Weighing in at a little over 500 calories in, the 24-ounce cup had 18 grams of fat, 76 grams of sugar (people with diabetes should avoid this drink), and 55 grams of cholesterol (be still my heart).
Available only until April 23, 2017, the controversial drink had its fair share of supporters and distractors. The American Heart Association recommends that women consume only 25 grams of sugar a day (the unicorn frap had three times that amount) and men consume only 36 grams of sugar per day (the frap had more than twice that amount).
Trendy Unicorn Gifts
Consumers believe that giving the gift of a unicorn, in any form, is giving a gift that is blessed with magic. It also creates a bond between the gift giver and gift receiver, especially if they both like unicorns.
Savvy marketers and manufacturing mavens helped popularize the gifts of unicorns by placing them on virtually everything. This was a common practice because there is no licensing fee involved (unless you’re My Little Pony).
Stuffed animal unicorns are very popular, along with unicorn-themed glassware, toys (including a robotic interactive unicorn from V-Tech), clothes, stationery, posters, stickers, party supplies, and more. A unicorn gift symbolizes a rare and beautiful friendship and is always appreciated.
There are lots of things you can buy for your unicorn-obsessed friends, things like Unicorn Farts, a bag of pink cotton candy guaranteed to put a smile on any unicorn fancier. Unicorn Tears Lip Gloss and Unicorn Make-Up mean to know you can look just like a unicorn. Add Glitter Head Bands (complete with a horn), Socks, Leggings, Pajamas, and House Slippers, and you can dress like a unicorn too.
Make a batch of cookies with unicorn Cookie Cutters. Fix your hanging muffler with unicorn Duct Tape. Or give your friends unicorn cereal bowls, unicorn-themed sushi rolls, a unicorn pillow, Band-Aids, a unicorn cape, a tattoo, or an iPhone case. You can even find Unicorn slime and unicorn snot.
Friendship is Magic TV Series and My Little Pony Unicorns
Friendship is Magic is the third TV series from the My Little Pony franchise, following My Little Pony and My Little Pony Tales. The Canadian American series was introduced on October 10, 2010, and ran for nine seasons (recently canceled this year). The series covers the adventures of the magical Princess Twilight Sparkle and her trusted dragon assistant Spike.
All the Ponies and Unicorns live in Ponyville, located in the enchanted land of Equestria. She shares her adventures with her colorful pony and unicorn friends. Her friends include honest Applejack, generous Rarity, kind Fluttershy, loyal Rainbow Dash, and fun-loving Pinkie Pie. The series is all about learning the magic that is real friendship. During the run of the show, many unicorn characters were introduced. Here is a partial list of 75 My Little Pont Unicorn Names from the Friendship is Magic TV Series:
1.) Twilight Sparkle
4.) Bracer Britches
5.) Chancellor Neighsay
7.) Fleur de Lis
10.) Moon Dancer
11.) Party Favor
12.) Prince Blueblood
13.) Professor Flintheart
14.) Sable Spirit
15.) Saffron Masala
16.) Sassy Saddles
17.) Shining Armour
18.) King Sombra
19.) Cinnamon Chai
More Names for Unicorns
21.) Clear Sky
22.) Coriander Cumin
23.) Dandy Grandeur
24.) Doctor Horse
25.) Fancy Pants
26.) Fashion Plate
28.) Adagio Dazzle
29.) Amethyst Star
30.) Banana Fluff
33.) Charity Sweet mint
34.) Cherry Spices
35.) Clear Sky
40.) Jet Set
41.) Jade Singer
42.) Lilly Lace
43.) First Folio
44.) Sunshine Shimmer
45.) Starlight Glimmer
46.) Tempest Shadow
47.) Comet Tail
48.) Dark Moon
49.) Electric Sky
50.) Fire Streak
51,) Firecracker Burst
52.) Galant True
53.) Golden Delicious
54.) Raven Inkwell
56.) Liza Doolots
57.) Magnet Bolt
58.) Mare Do Well
59.) Neon Lights
60.) Party Favor
61.) Princess Amore
62.) Radiant Hope
63.) Rainbow Stars
64.) Sea Swirl
65.) Shooting Star
66.) Silver Spanner
67.) Holly Dash
68.) Sugar Belle
72.) Whoa Nelly
73.) Zesty Gourmand
74.) Radiant Hope
75.) Clear Sky
Check out 101+ More Unicorn Names.
Top 20 Unicorn Verses and Sayings
At Greeting Card Poet, we polled our panel of unicorn experts and enthusiasts to come up with the most classic unicorn verses and sayings. We humbly present our magical list:
1.) Wishing you a magical birthday.
2.) Sometimes you just need to feel like a unicorn.
3.) You are like a unicorn, rare, sweet, beautiful, and poop rainbows.
4.) You’re Freaking Magical!
5.) I love you more than unicorns.
6.) You make life sparkle.
7.) Sugar is sweet, lemon is tart, I love you more than a unicorn fart.
8.) How does a unicorn feel about getting older? It’s unreal!
9.) You are a fairy princess rainbow sparkle unicorn.
10.) I wanted to give you a unicorn for Christmas, but it kept breaking through the wrapping paper.
11.) Remember to be yourself unless you can be a party unicorn, then be a party unicorn!
12.) Every time you pick your nose, a unicorn dies.
13.) Go Kick Butt!
14.) Keep Calm and Ride a Unicorn.
15.) Coffee is real magic.
16.) Wishing you rainbows, unicorns, and glitter!
17.) You’re one of kind.
18.) Legendary is your middle name.
19.) You sparkle and you shine!
20.) Do you believe in magic?
The legend of the unicorn has existed for centuries, and there are versions of the fantastic animal in both Eastern and Western cultures. The Chinese version has existed for thousands of years. It is most often depicted with the body of a deer, the tail of an ox, the hooves of a horse, and a single short horn growing out of the middle of its forehead.
There are five revered colors in China, red, yellow, blue, white, and black, but sometimes the image features green scales on the body like a dragon. In Chinese mythology, unicorns were the messengers of important news like the birth of Confucius, the long reign of the Yellow Emperor, the secrets of written language, and many more.
Other Asian Countries have unicorn traditions. In Japan, the unicorn has a shaggy mane and the body of a bull, with a single horn in the middle of its head. The Japanese unicorn could tell if someone was guilty, and once that determination was made, the unicorn would pierce the heart of the guilty party with its horn.
The mythological Arabian unicorn had magical qualities and was a good-luck charm against scorpions. It is now believed that the Arabian unicorn was actually an oryx that had two horns that appeared as one when viewed from the side.
The Western Unicorn
The Western version of the unicorn was first mentioned in the 3rd century and by the 4th century, the mythological beast was widespread and popular. Its horn was three colors white at the bottom, black in the middle, and red at the tip. This Greek version of the unicorn was believed to offer protection against poison when the horn was ground into a powder and added to a drink. Aristotle believed the unicorn was a real animal that did not possess magical qualities.
The unicorn myth spread to Europe, and by the 1300s, King Robert III incorporated a unicorn into the official seal of Scotland. Often referred to as an alicorn, the creature is often shown flying with beautiful angelic wings. The Western unicorn also had magical powers and the ability to counteract poison. In France, the Kings ate utensils made from unicorn horns to prevent them from being poisoned.
These medicinal qualities were in popular culture well into the 1700s. All parts of the unicorn were believed to have benefits, not just the horn. While the ground unicorn horn was said to cure fever, plague, epilepsy, rabies, gout, and a host of other ailments, leather from the unicorn was equally valuable.
Shoes made of unicorn leather ensured healthy legs and feet, and a belt made from unicorn leather protected the wearer from the plague and fever. Eating a unicorn’s liver was thought to cure leprosy.
Appearance in Coat of Arms
Unicorns have appeared on the Coat of Arms of Scotland, Hungary, France, Czech Republic. Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands. The unicorn we know and picture today in Western culture began to evolve in the 1800s and slowly morphed into the image we see today. Popular in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, the unicorn is ubiquitous today because of social media and mass marketing. Long live the unicorn.
Unicorns and Rainbows – What’s the Connection?
As far back as the 1800’s Victorians combine rainbows and unicorns to create a romantic vision of unicorns that still exists to this day. Once rainbows and unicorns were paired, there was no separating them. The LGBTQ community already had a rainbow flag to signify diversity. It conveyed that message of the powerful and the possible, the mystical and the magical, the fantastic, and the fabulous by displaying it with a unicorn.
The rainbow connection also was found in the My Little Pony toy product line; the original and new series of toys both contained versions that had rainbow-colored manes. And the children’s TV series Adventure Time features a character named “Lady Rainicorn” that is literally a combination of a rainbow and a unicorn. Guess the two just go together.
Are unicorns real?
There are two schools of thought on this theory. One is that unicorns are strictly mythological, and the second is that the unicorn may be based on misunderstandings of real animals. As mentioned above, the legends about unicorns are many. The unicorn has undergone an evolution from the earliest mention of the creature to the somewhat garish version we see today.
The legends include healing and magical powers, the ability to fly, and the knowledge to discern if someone is telling the truth. Each region and time period added and subtracted to the myth, and the flying steed with the rainbow mane and single horn has stayed in our history.
There are real animals that may be responsible for the legend of the unicorn. There may have been a real animal called a unicorn with a single horn that was hunted out of existence for its valued horn. The most obvious misunderstanding would have been a rhinoceros. Single horn sticking out of the head, a large animal, but hardly the muscular, svelte animal we picture.
The second possibility is the Aurochs, a large breed of cattle with two horns, but when drawn or painted from the side, like in cave paintings, looked like a single-horned animal. These cattle had large and muscular builds. Finally, there’s the “unicorn of the sea,” the narwhal.
The narwhal is in the porpoise family and features a single horn protruding from the middle of its head. In all likelihood, the narwhal is responsible for the perpetuation of the unicorn myth. Narwhal horns were collected by poachers and sold as unicorn horns for centuries. If the horns were real, unicorns must be real, right? Wrong.
The look of unicorns has evolved from forest-like animals to fantastic steed with a twisted horn and mane that is all sorts of wild colors. Unicorn hair is a stand-out pastel or super bright color or even rainbow-colored, but the key is it must be otherworldly, not found in nature a spectrum of magical colors.
One company, Lime Crime, makes a line of semi-permanent hair dye and hair color products that are vegan and only use globally sourced ingredients. The dyes are available in an amazing array of “unicorn colors.” What are the unicorn colors?
Unicorn Hair Colors
The hair colors also come in a line of sprays for that ultra-quick unicorn hair look. What colors do the sprays come in? Here you go:
Unicorns and Children
Kids love unicorns, and many children’s books have been written about unicorns. You see unicorns everywhere: on blankets, stationery, bobbleheads, plush animals, t-shirts, and more.
They appeal to children because they are magical, beautiful, colorful, and, most of all, glittery. Unicorns encourage imaginary play and allow children to take on their personalities and soar in the skies with rainbows.
How to Draw a Unicorn
All of this imagery lends itself well to children’s coloring and drawing because it is fun to draw rainbows and unicorns. Here are some guides for how to draw a unicorn.
Go to the website and type unicorn in the search box, and you should be good to go.
And this look into the magical world of unicorns ends with this quote. As Lewis Carroll wrote in Through the Looking Glass, “Well, now that we have seen each other,” said the Unicorn, “If you believe in me, I’ll believe in you.”
By Tim Moodie
Tim Moodie is fascinated by unicorns’ popularity. He works as a writer and toy inventor.
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