The pine cone is a symbol of happiness, fertility, an abundance of grace and prosperity. A person who carries the pine cone symbol will be seen by others as attractive.

The Slavs believed that fallen pine cones were gifts from a forest spirit called Szyszkodar, or the Pine Cone Giver. Szyszkodar offered the pine cones as promises of happiness and prosperity for the whole year, but in exchange for his prickly gift, the Pine Cone Giver asked for people to take care of nature. To honor Szyszkodar, Slavs planted trees and celebrated Szyszkielniki, or Pine-cone-liday. It was a big feast for the whole village, with a stew simmering in the kettle on a fire. People gave each other decorated pine cones as gifts with wishes of happiness and prosperity, and planted trees together.

Slavs depicted the Pine Cone Giver as an old man with a beard covered in moss, bird nests, polypores, and flowers. He had an acorn necklace, a bag filled with pine cones, and he rode a hedgehog with a red squirrel resting on his shoulder.

illustration by Anna Helena Szymborska