We are surrounded with colors everywhere and at all times, but are we aware of them and do we appreciate them enough?
The connection between color and emotion is undeniable and inevitable, therefore you should be aware that colors in our environment definitely affect us!
Human eye can discern 7,000,000 colors. Some colors and color combinations can irritate the eyes, cause headaches, and disturb human vision while other colors and color combinations are soothing and make us feel better.
If you just look out your window on a grey, rainy day, your world will seem black and white, but if you open your window and see the sun shining and the grass growing greener every day, you’ll truly feel your surroundings and the calmness that colors all around you.
But what about colors and emotions in different cultures?
They can remind someone of a past feeling, time, place, tradition or belief.
So let’s start with some of the most popular colors that have different meanings in different parts of the world.
The world of red
In Western cultures, red color symbolizes excitement, energy, passion, action, love, and danger. It’s also associated with communism and revolution in countries like Russia.
In Asian cultures, red color is very important as it symbolizes good fortune, joy, prosperity, celebration, happiness and longevity.
Because it’s such an auspicious color, brides often wear red on their wedding day and red envelopes containing money are given as gifts during holidays and in special occasions.
In Indian culture, Red is the most powerful of all colors and holds many important meanings.
Among them are fear and fire, wealth and power, purity, fertility, seduction, love and beauty. Red also represents certain time and place in one’s private life, like when a woman gets married. A married woman can be identified by the red henna on her hands and by the red powder, known as sindoor, applied along her hairline.
Some countries in Africa associate red color with death. In Nigeria however, it represents aggression and vitality. It is considered a lucky charm in Egypt and it symbolizes good fortune and courage in Iran.
Here are some fun facts about red color:
- In Russian language it is synonymous with “beautiful”
- Red color doesn’t make bulls angry, they are color-blind
- The red stripes on the on the United States flag stand for courage
- Seeing the red color can make your heart beat faster
The world of blue
Blue color holds more meanings around the world than any other color. Blue has evolved as symbol of depression in American culture, hence the expressions “singing the blues” and “feeling blue”. It’s an example of the complexity of color symbolism and how it has evolved in different cultures.
It’s also considered to be a calming and soothing color that symbolizes trust, security and authority. Blue is also a symbol of masculinity and represents the birth of a boy — unlike in China, where blue is considered a feminine color.
In many Middle Eastern countries, blue means safety and protection, and symbolizes heaven, spirituality and immortality.
Many religions have their own associations for the color blue as well. For example, in many Latin American countries—known for a high percentage of Catholic population— blue is a sign of hope and good health. In Judaism, blue is the shade for holiness and divinity.
In Hinduism, it is the color of Krishna—the most highly worshipped Hindu god who embodies love and joy and destroys pain and sins.
Here are some fun facts about blue color:
- Blue is the #1 favorite color of all people
- 53% of the flags in the world contain blue
- Blue is the most commonly used color in corporate identity
- Blue jeans are worn all over the world
The world of Yellow
Most people would think it is the color of joy everywhere in the world. Surprisingly, it isn’t.
In France, yellow color signifies jealousy, betrayal, weakness and contradiction. In the 10th century, the French painted the doors of traitors and criminals yellow.
In Germany, yellow symbolizes jealousy.
In many African nations, yellow is reserved only for high-ranking people, because of its close resemblance to gold, which is universally associated with money, quality and success.
In Japanese culture, yellow represents bravery, wealth, and refinement.
In Thai culture, it represents the lucky color for Monday.
Here are some fun facts about yellow color:
- Yellow is an easily visible color and indicates caution. That’s why traffic lights flash it between the red and green lights; it means you can go, but you should be cautious nevertheless.
- In the American slang, a coward is sometimes called “yellow” or “yellow-bellied”.
- Coldplay achieved worldwide fame with their 2000 hit single “Yellow“.
- The word yellow comes from the Old-English word geolu.
The world of Green
The meanings of green color are mostly the same around the world: nature, ecology, environmental awareness, military and the traffic light for “go”.
In Western cultures, green represents spring, money, freshness, inexperience, jealously, greed and Christmas (when combined with red).
Nicknamed The Emerald Isle for its luscious green countryside, Ireland has green as its national color.
It is associated with good luck, leprechauns, shamrocks and Saint Patrick. Most Eastern and Asian cultures relate green with new and eternal life, new beginnings, fertility, youth, health and prosperity.
And while this is true in Chinese culture, wearing a green-colored hat is a taboo for men because it suggests that their wives are cheating on them.
After gaining its freedom from Spain in the 19th century, Mexico chose to display green color on its flag as a symbol of independence. In many South American cultures in the areas rich in forests, green symbolizes death.
Here are some fun facts about green color:
- It is a symbol of sickness. This is why cartoon characters go green when they’re sick.
- Santa’s suit was originally green. In the 1950s, Coca-Cola bought him out and changed it to red.
- Suicides dropped by 34% when London’s Blackfriars Bridge was painted green.
- In North American stock markets, green is used to indicate a rise in stock prices, however, in East Asian stock markets, green indicates a drop in stock prices.
What colors mean to you
Isn’t it fascinating how colors have different meanings around the world, but still they can still have special meanings for every individual?
How are you feeling today? Is the blue getting to you or are you calmly going through your day with the sun lighting you up?
Are you dressing up fierce and powerful with a red detail or toning it down a notch?
Has your traffic light turned green, allowing you to rush through your day? Or has it turned red, reminding you that sometimes it’s alright to take it easy?
Be it as it may, you are the one creating your own personal culture, so color it right and bright!
As Cindy Lauper says: “True colors are beautiful like a rainbow”.
We couldn’t agree more.