What the Fish Symbol You See on the Back of Many Cars Means

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.23 - 2024 11:42 AM CET

Photo: Private
Photo: Private
What the Fish Symbol You See on the Back of Many Cars Means.

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Although most of us have encountered the fish symbol on a car, few are aware of its history and the reason why it is placed on a vehicle's surface.

The story behind a common sticker, which can still be found on cars even today, takes us back to the distant past, about 2,000 years ago. Despite its long journey through time, the interpretation of the symbol remains unknown to most.

According to Car and Motor Greece, the reason behind the fish symbol, which some choose to place on the rear part of a car's body, is not to indicate their dietary preferences or the corresponding zodiac sign but to declare the religion they belong to.

This practice has lasted almost 2,000 years, when the fish symbol was linked with Christianity and used by believers in the early years of spreading the Christian doctrine.

The early Christians would place the fish symbol in secret meeting places and catacombs, as a way to declare their religious preferences while simultaneously avoiding persecution.

There are various theories on how the fish became the "secret" symbol of Christianity, with one of them being related to the Greek words "Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς Θεοῦ Υἱὸς Σωτήρ" (Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior), the initials of which form the word "ΙΧΘΥΣ" (FISH).

From the time Christians were persecuted to today, obviously, much has changed. However, during the 1970s, the practice of declaring one's religious beliefs in this way made a comeback.

It was then that the first stickers with the fish symbol appeared on cars, keeping alive a tradition of nearly 2,000 years.

Today, cars bearing the fish symbol are rare, yet, it's almost certain that if you become more observant, sooner or later, you will spot the distinctive emblem with a history of 2,000 years.

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