Dala Horse Color Meaning

What is a Dala horse?

Have you heard of a Dalecarlian horse or Dala horse? A Dala horse is a traditional carved, wooden statue of a horse. Dala horses have been around for centuries! It originates from the Swedish province of Dalarna. They were mostly used as children’s toys. They have also been known to be used as a form of currency some time ago. Today, dala horses are a national symbol.

Why is it a horse?

It makes sense that the national symbol is a horse. This delicate handicraft dates back to the 18th century. Lumberjacks would sit in their cozy log cabin, warm by the fireplace, carving figures from any pieces of wood that were left over from a long day's work. 

Horses were, and still are, of great value to families. So, of course it was an extremely popular choice. They would proudly give these beautiful carvings to their children and the dala horses were very treasured. 

But how did they get their distinctive red color?

Why are Dala horses red?

Dala horses are available in a range of colors and sizes. However, the traditional red dala horse is the most popular. 

As said before, this traditional handicraft has been around for centuries. Dala horses are painted a beautiful orange-red color. But it is not just any old red used to paint them! No, the Dala horse is painted a Swedish Falu red. Why the red?

This famous falu red comes from the copper mines in the Dalarna region. It is said that a soldier in the winter of 1716, during the Sweden raged war, carved a Dala horse from scrap wood. This soldier beautifully hand carved a horse. Alone, this hand carved creature is already a wonderful handicraft. Still, before giving it to his waiting child at home as a gift, he painted it with the only color that he had available, a beautiful bright red from the copper mines. 

From then on, the dala horses are known for this traditional falu red. However, they come in a vast amount of colors and designs. So do not worry if red is not your color!

Dala Horse Factory

The first dala horse factory was started in 1928 by two brothers. The brothers Nils and Jannes Olsson started the factory Nils Olsson Dalahästar. It is located in the small community of Nusnäs and dala horses are still produced there to this day. The Dala horse quickly became recognized worldwide in 1939.

If you are interested in seeing it, you can still visit the factory today and ask for a guided tour. On this tour, you can see the entire process that goes into manufacturing dala horses. 

The Swedish dala horse makes a wonderful gift for a family or friend. In doing this, you will be contributing in maintaining a creative Swedish tradition and also give a unique gift to your loved ones. 

The next time you think about buying the Swedish Dala horse, you will now know the wonderful story behind it!