Colours have different meaning in different cultures. They are used to express feelings and enliven our language. They also influence our emotions, our actions, and how we respond to various people. Many people believe that colours have powers and that coloured stones are powerful. Red is the colour of fire and blood. It is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, determination, as well as passion, desire and love. In South Africa, it is the colour of mourning. But in China, it is the colour of good luck. The ancient Egyptians considered themselves a red race and painted their bodies with red dye for emphasis. In Russia, red means beautiful. The Bolsheviks used a red flag as their symbol when they overthrew the Tsar in 1917. In some circumstances, red causes the heart to beat faster. For the ancient Romans, a red flag was a signal for battle. Because of its visibility, stop signs, stoplights, brake lights and fire equipments are all painted red. Pink is the colour of universal love. It is a quiet colour. Lovers of beauty favour pink. A pink carnation means, “I will never forget you”.
Brown can mix into many surroundings. It is a mixture of red, blue and yellow and has many shades and tones, each producing a different effect. Too much of brown can make a dull effect. It gives a feeling of solidity and allows one to stay in the background, unnoticed. People, who prefer the colour brown, are often conventional and orderly. The negative meaning of brown can be a repressed personality or a lazy person. Orange is one of the healing colours. It combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with sunshine and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement and stimulation. To the human eye, it is a very hot colour, so it gives the sensation of heat. It also increases the oxygen supply to the brain and stimulates mental activity.
Yellow is the colour of sunshine. It symbolises wisdom. It is associated with joy, happiness, intellect and energy. It produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity and generates muscle energy. It is associated with food.
Green is the colour of nature. It symbolises growth, harmony, freshness and fertility. Blue is one of the most popular colours. It is the colour of the sky and sea. The ancient Egyptians used lapis lazuli to represent heaven. Blue causes the opposite reaction as red. Peaceful, tranquil blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals, so it is often used in bedrooms. According to studies, it is a masculine colour and is highly accepted among males. Dark blue is the colour of truth and moderation. A blue iris means that your friendship is very important to me.
Purple is associated with both nobility and spirituality. Being the combination of red and blue, it is an ideal colour. It connotes luxury, wealth and sophistication. It is also feminine and romantic. White is associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity and virginity. It means safety, purity and cleanliness. According to Christian traditions, brides and First Holy Communicants wear white gowns to symbolize purity and innocence. In some countries, white is worn at funerals. White daises are a symbol of loyal love. So are white Easter lilies. Doctors and nurses wear white to imply sterility. Strictly speaking, white is not a colour, but the manifestation of the presence of all colour — the complete energy of light. Black is associated with power, elegance, formality, death, evil and mystery. It is a mysterious colour, associated with fear and the unknown. Strictly speaking, black is not a colour. It is the absence of all colours. It is the colour of authority and power. In the West, black is associated with death, while white signifies purity. In the Orient, however, white is the traditional colour of mourning.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)