Tribal Taino Sun Symbol Meaning: Fascinating Puerto Rican History

Jose "Jay" Carrillo

The Taino sun symbol is more than just a pretty design. It has a rich history and meaning that can be traced back to the Taino people of the Caribbean.

The Taino sun symbol meaning is quite fascinating as it represents everything from the sun and sky, to the Taino cosmology. The Taino people believe the sun was the source of all creation and life, and that it was a symbol of strength and power. In fact, it was believed that the sun was an extremely powerful god. According to the Taino population, the sun god provided strength and longevity to both their people and life-giving crops.

It’s also linked to the Taino people’s belief in reincarnation and was a major part of their religion. Most importantly, it symbolized their spiritual connection to the sun.

Today, the Taino sun symbol is extremely popular and can be seen everywhere, from t-shirts to tattoos to art.

Read on to find out more about this iconic symbol and others, as well as the rich history of the Taino people.

History of Taino Sun Symbol

The Taino sun symbol was originally used by the Taino people of the Caribbean long before the arrival of the Europeans. It’s one of many symbols of their Caribbean culture and ancient heritage.

It’s the most recognized by far and it’s so sacred to the Taino culture, that it’s often used to represent the Taino people as a whole.

This iconic symbol is a stylized sun that has rays emanating from it. The symbol is believed to represent the sun god and was often used on Taino pottery and other artifacts. The Taino sun symbol was also often used in religious ceremonies and rituals.

Christopher Columbus brought the symbol back to Europe after he saw it on a Taino village gate in what is now Haiti. He thought it was a good luck charm and took it with him back to Spain. The Taino sun symbol became popular in Europe and it was used on many different items such as coins, medals and even architecture.

Today, the Taino sun symbol is still used by many people globally as a symbol of good luck and strength. It’s also seen as a reminder of the indigenous people of the Caribbean and their rich culture.

Taino Indian Tribal People and Native Island Way of Life

The Taino Indians were a tribe of Native Americans who lived in the Caribbean. They were part of the Arawak people who were the major population group in the Caribbean. Their culture could be divided into the Classic Taino, Western Taino and Eastern Taino.

Taino Native Island Way Of Life

Their culture and way of life was very different from other tribes in the Caribbean. The Taino were peaceful people who loved nature and enjoyed spending time outdoors. They were great farmers, fishermen and had a rich culture that included music, dance and art.

Unfortunately, the Taino were declared extinct after the 15th century (1565 A.C.) due to the sicknesses that were brought onto the island by the Spanish conquistadores.

Classic Taino

The Classic Taino lived in Puerto Rico, eastern Cuba and Hispaniola. They spoke a dialect called Classic Taino and were developed agriculturally far above the surrounding indigenous tribes.

Taino Indian Tribal People Of The Caribbean

They inhabited Puerto Rico and Hispaniola first. Then, in 1450 the Classic Taino from Hispaniola began migrating to Eastern Cuba. Eventually they became known as the Cuban Taino and went on to gain power over the Western Taino inhabitants who were called the Ciboney.

Western Taino

The western Taino mainly lived in four different areas. They lived in western Hispaniola, central Cuba, Jamaica and the Bahamas. In the western portion of the Bahamas, they were known as the Lucayans. Unfortunately, they were eradicated by the Spanish slave raids up until the year 1520.

Eastern Taino

The Eastern Taino inhabited the area between the Virgin Islands and Montserrat. Compared to the Classic Taino, they had less sophisticated societies.

Taino Symbols and Meaning

The Taino people had an artistic culture and simple way of life. Their use of symbols made them unique. Each one had special meaning used in various areas of their lives. The symbols represented agriculture, animals and religion.

Taino Symbols

Some of the most popular Taino symbols were the sun, moon and stars representing different beliefs and aspects of their indigenous culture.

The sun symbolized life and energy, while the moon represented night and darkness. The stars were believed to be guiding lights that led the way to good fortune.

Other popular Taino symbols included animals, plants and even physical objects. Each one had its own special meaning. A popular animal symbol was that of the turtle which was a Taino symbol for strength and endurance. The banana leaf was a popular physical symbol that represented fertility and new beginnings.

In all, the many symbols of the Taino Tribe were an important part of their culture that helped to give their life meaning and purpose. They were connectors between man, earth, spirit and God.

Taino Symbols On Rocks

Many Puerto Ricans revere these symbols as they are a reminder of the rich history and traditions of the tropical island.

Taino Sun Symbol in Caribbean and Puerto Rican Culture

The Taino sun symbol is a powerful spiritual image that has been passed down through generations of Taino people. The symbol is believed to bring good fortune and protection to those who wear it. Not surprisingly, the ancient Taino were known to decorate their bodies with the sun symbol.

This ancient symbol has been adopted by many as a symbol of cultural pride and identity, particularly in Puerto Rico.

Today, these Puerto Rican symbols have been embraced by Puerto Rican artists and tattoo artists alike.

These symbols can be seen in Taino art, tribal tattoos and jewelry.

Taino Symbol Tattoos

The increased popularity in these areas have spurred interest in understanding more about the meaning and significance of these symbols.

There’s no better way to do this than by learning about the Taino petroglyphs which actually formed the foundation for the Taino language. 

The Taino symbols carved in stone or on walls of caves often highlighted the Taino gods which represented Taino beliefs and religious practices. As an example, El Sol de Jayuya or sun god, was found in a petroglyph in Jayuya, Puerto Rico.

Taino Words in Puerto Rican Language

Many historians believe that the word Taino (meaning peace) was most likely used upon the arrival of the Spanish. Over the years, a good number of Taino words have been integrated into the Puerto Rican written language. Typically, these words are related to nature.

A few examples are noted below:


  • cupey
  • ceiba
  • tabonuco


  • coqui (tiny frogs)
  • guabina
  • cobo
  • carey
  • iguana
  • mucaro

Interestingly enough, a few words have also made into the English language and include hamaca (hammock), huracan (hurricane) and barbacoa (barbecue).

If you’re interested in learning more about the Taino coqui frog, check out my blog post titled Taino Frog Symbol Meaning: The Puerto Rico Coqui.

Editor’s Thoughts and Final Words

One thing that is common among all Native American tribes, Native American cultures and the Native American Indian population as a whole, is the appreciation for Mother Earth and her forces of nature. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tribe from the Caribbean Islands, Dominican Republic, South America, Central America or even an American Indian tribe. They all believe in a great spirit within a spirit world where nature and all wildlife are sacred, and integral to their life and well-being.

This level of respect and adoration gives us a better understanding of the meaning of these symbols. Ancient symbols that go deeper than just artistic symbols in a painting, pendant or tattoo. In this new world, we can learn a great deal from a sacred symbol of the Taino culture or other ethnic groups.

The symbols mentioned in this article are unique symbols that we can also use in our everyday life, reminding us of how precious our planet really is, just like the Taino Indians or other tribes from the Western World. These simple symbols serve as a good reminder for us to do everything, we can save our planet which is in great need.

FAQ’s In Relation To The Taino Sun Symbol Meaning

Does the Taino sun symbol have a name?

Yes, it is also known as the Cemi. The Taino chiefs used the Cemi as a symbol of status and power. Overall, the Taino people believed the Cemi represented the god of their polytheistic religion.

What are petroglyphs?

Petroglyphs are symbols carved in stone.

Did the Taino people have a rain god?

Yes, the Taino also worshipped the rain god Cemi Boinayel. Cemi Boinayel provided much needed rain for their crops every year. For this reason, the rain god was equally important to the Taino, and just as powerful as the Taino sun god (also known as the Puerto Rican sun god).

Who were the Taíno and what is their significance in Puerto Rican history?

The Taíno were the indigenous people of the Antilles in the Caribbean. They were the main inhabitants of Puerto Rico before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Their culture and traditions have had a significant impact on Puerto Rican history and identity.

What is the Taino Puerto Rican sun symbol meaning?

The Taino sun meaning or symbol represents the sun, which is a powerful and important element in Taino culture. The Taino symbol meaning (also referred to as the sol Taino meaning) is simply the rise of a new day, warmth, light, health and the circle of life.

What other important Puerto Rican symbols and meanings (or artifacts) were used in Taino ceremonial practices?

The Taino used a lot of symbolic objects during their ceremonial practices. Some of the most important ones include the ceremonial seat, which was used by the cacique or lord of the tribe, the “mautiatibuel” or medicine ball, which was used in a game of the same name that symbolized the dualistic nature of the universe, and the “guahoyona” or frog, which represented both medicine and the god of water.

How did the Taino story of the creation of humans and the world differ from mainstream beliefs?

The Taino creation story differs from mainstream beliefs in that it depicts the creation of humans and the world as a reproductive act between a male and a female. In this story, the goddess Atabey gives birth to the twins Yaya and Guabonito, who go on to create the world.

Did the Taino have any unique healing practices or medicine?

Yes, the Taino had a unique approach to medicine that was largely based on plants and herbs. They believed in the use of natural remedies to cure ailments, which they derived from the local flora and fauna. This included the use of frogs’ skin and bones, which were believed to have medicinal properties.

What was the role of the ball game in Taino culture?

The ball game was an important aspect of Taino culture. It was played for both recreation and ceremonial purposes and symbolized the dualistic nature of the universe. The game was played on a rectangular court and involved hitting a ball through a hoop with the hips.

What does the Taino sun symbol tell us about their culture and worldview?

The Taino sun symbol tells us that they had an inventive and symbolic approach to understanding the world around them. It also tells us that the sun played a significant role in their daily lives and was a source of inspiration for their art and culture.

What were some other characteristic features of Taino art and craftsmanship?

Taino art was highly distinctive and often featured intricate carvings and designs. They were skilled in the creation of stone sculptures and pottery, which often portrayed human and animal forms. They were also known for their weaving and basketry skills.

What was the significance of the twin gods Yaya and Guabonito in Taino culture?

The twin gods Yaya and Guabonito were an important symbol of duality in Taino culture. They were associated with both major and minor deities and were believed to be eternal lovers who created the world.

What role did food play in Taino culture?

Food was an essential part of Taino culture and played a central role in their daily lives. They were skilled farmers and fishermen, and their diet was varied and rich in nutrients. Taino cuisine included staples such as cassava, maize, beans, and sweet potato, as well as a variety of seafood and small game.