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COLOR MEANINGS AROUND THE WORLD

March 20, 2014

After reading an article on “secouchermoinsbête” on marriage traditions in China where women get married in red, I decided to do some research on the meaning and symbol of colors around the world.

couleursdu monde

RED

For the most part of the English speaking countries, red is a powerful symbol. It is associated with passion, love but also violence. That’s why this color is used for the traffic signs or for the war posters. It symbolizes also the excitement and the risk. During the festivities which celebrate love, this color is one of the most used. In the US the red is famous during the Christmas holidays; in this period, most bows, gift paper, paper plates, napkins and decorations are red.

In the Eastern culture, red is associated with luck and celebration. It is the color of blood, so it represents life and vitality. In China, it is worn by newly weds. In India, it symbolizes purity and women often marry in red.   For South Africans, it is the color of bereavement, whereas for  the aborigines of Australia, it is the color of the earth. In Russia, it is associated with beauty.

YELLOW

The association commonly made with yellow, is the sun. But in the US yellow is associated with taxis , that is to say the movement and agility. In Western culture , it is the color of joy and positive energy. However, even if the yellow symbolizes enthusiasm and optimism , it also represents jealousy, deceit and dishonesty. An old American proverb has also replaced the word ” deception ” by ” yellow ” .

In Asia, it is an imperial color, it is reserved for royalty . In Japan , it means courage and strength. For Buddhists , yellow is spiritual and soothing. In India , it is associated with trade and negotiation . Finally , it symbolizes bereavement in Egypt.

ORANGE

In Europe, the orange is a warm, enthusiastic color. It is friendly and encouraging. Traditionally, orange symbolizes harvest and achieving goals. In the Netherlands , it is the symbolic color of the country and therefore, a favorite color of its citizens . For Hindus , the orange is associated with sacred and saffron . In Ireland , it symbolizes Protestantism.

GREEN

Green symbolizes health. In many cultures, it is associated with healing , renewal and especially luck. In France , it is considered as evil in the world of theater.  In Western cultures , it symbolizes youth , growth and freshness of life. However , this color also represents diplomacy , inspiring security, generosity and moderation. In Anglo- Saxon cultures , green is associated with ambition and prestige . In the United States , green is especially identified with the envy and jealousy with the expression ” to be green with envy “.

In China, it is the color of lies and exorcism. For example, a green hat means that a woman has deceived her husband. In Ireland , green is a very popular color because of the national symbolism of the four-leaf clover .

BLUE

This is the most popular color. It represents the sky and the sea, tranquility and peace. Moreover, it is the color of our planet Earth, loyal and stable.

In Western cultures, blue is associated with patience, freedom, progress and unity. Poets often say that blue helps them to find inspiration. In Europe, it represents  harmony.

 In Iran, it characterizes bereavement and in China immortality. However, Cherokee tribes of North America saw blue as the color of defeat and trouble.

WHITE

White is bright and shiny. In the Western culture it represents  unity. For many generations , white has been  traditionally associated with purity. It is the color of wedding dresses , innocence and angels. In movies and popular culture, the color white is associated with nice and good people. In addition, the white flag is the international sign of peace as well as the iconic white dove . It also represents security, faith , chastity , spirituality and infertility. In India , it has a completely different meaning , the white is a sign of misfortune. In Japan and China, white symbolizes death.

BLACK

In the Western culture, black represents the rebellion. It can be dramatic and it is  associated with death and bereavement.

In China, black is the color worn by young boys. In India, black represents balance and health. In Thailand, it is the color of bad luck. For the Aborigines of Australia, black is the color of the earth and the party.

Here are some food for thoughts!

Alexandra

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