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Color Symbolism


Color Symbolism
Color Symbolism
© Dixie Allan

Color symbolism is the use of color as a representation or meaning of something that is usually specific to a particular culture or society.

Color means many different things to different people and cultures. We all have our own favorite colors. People like different colors like they like different foods. Color also represents feelings, people, countries, cultures, and color symbolism. In the western world, the color red is seen frequently of symbolizing anger or aggression. Some car insurance companies charge more for red cars because some owners of red cars are more aggressive and take more risks.

Colof Symbolisn As It Relates To Religion

Colors are used in religious ceremonies or to represent some aspect of religion. Native Americans include colors in religious ceremonies. The Navajo Nation considers four colors to be important: Turquoise, white, yellow, and black. These colors represent four sacred mountains. The Apache Nation also considers four colors to be important: Green, white, yellow and black. These are sacred colors of the white mountain and are also used in government. The Iowa Nation also considers four colors to be sacred: Black, yellow, red and white. They represent direction, their flag, and what they consider to be four races of man.

The Symbolism of Colors represent many different items of sacred significance.

  • White symbolizes Purity, virginity, innocence and virtue. It is the Christian color for all high Holy Days of the church year, especially the seasons of Christmas and Easter.
  • Yellow colors symbolize renewal, hope, light and purity. Yellow is the Christian color for the season of Easter when used with white. When used as an off-white color, it symbolizes degradation or cowardice.
  • Orange symbolizes courage, endurance and strength - representing fire and flame.
  • Green colors symbolize nature, fertility, hope and bountifulness. Green symbolizes freedom from bondage and is the Christian color for the season of Epiphany.
  • Red symbolizes the Holy Spirit and is the color of Pentecost. Red represents fire and is associated with power and importance. Crimson red symbolizes the presence of God and the blood of martyrs. It is the Christian liturgical color for Pentecost and represents atonement and humility.
  • Black colors symbolize death, fear and ignorance and was used to indicate authority and power. The color black is used on Good Friday.
  • Brown symbolizes the earth, poverty and humility and is associated with monastic life.
  • Blue colors symbolize heavenly grace. The Virgin Mary is often depicted wearing blue clothing. Blue also represents hope, good health and the state of servitude.
  • Purple colors are associated with Royalty - purple togas were worn by the powerful Roman Emperors. The symbolic meaning of the color purple was for penitence and mourning and is the liturgical color for the seasons of Lent and Advent.

Color In World Culture

Color means many different things to different people and cultures. The following are a few color meanings used in the western world:

  • Traffic Lights use red for stop, yellow means caution and green says go. Yellow signs warn drivers of curves, pedestrian crossings or animal crossings.
  • Most, if not all countries have a flag. The colors of the flags are usually seen as patriotic symbols. Red, white and blue symbolizes patriotism in the United States.
  • Red and green are favorite Christmas colors in the western world. Orange, brown, yellow and dark red are associated with Thanksgiving and orange and black with Halloween. Easter uses pastel colors.
  • Blue is viewed as conservative while red is seen as power and aggression. Brighter colors like orange and yellow read as warmth.
  • Green is the major color that symbolizes ecology or the term "going green." In the eastern world, these are some of their color meanings:
  • White and pink are favorite marriage colors, just as they are in the western world.
  • Green symbolizes eternity, family, harmony, health, peace and posperity.
  • The color red symbolizes happiness.
  • White represents children, helpful people, marriage, peace and purity.
  • Gold stands for strength and wealth.
  • Black symbolizes evil or sadness as it does in the western world.

By learning about color symbolism, you are able to create the very effective communication documents - plus it is a very interesting subject!

To learn more about shapes in symbols, read the article The Basic Shapes of Symbols

To learn more about circles in symbols, read the article Circle Symbols - What Do They Mean?

To learn about cross shapes in symbols, read Cross Symbols - What Do They Mean?

To learn more about Symbolism, read Symbology - The Study of Signs and Symbols

To find symbol clip art, go to Signs and Symbols.

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