top of page

                                          COLOUR MEANING IN CULTURES AND RELIGIONS


In western cultures brides are commonly dressed in white which is derived from ancient Greece, where the temple, dedicated to the goddess Athena, was built of white marble and so it became the color of virginity.

China, India and Korea are using white as a colour of mourning and death (as the symbol of infinity). In the western world, it was also a colour for mourning until the 16th century.

The Catholic church it symbolises light at Lord and Mary's feasts. In Evangelical church it symbolises Jesus Christ.

White got it´s name from the wheat (in english, white means white, wheat  is sort of grain, Swedish "vit" and "vete"). In other languages white is associated with gloss of light: Italian - bianco, blanc in French, Greek - leukos.

White animals are regarded as being close to God: the Holy Spirit appeared as a white dove, Christ as a white lamb. Zeus revealed himself to Europe as a white bull, white cows in India are the embodiment of light. Heron and ibis are birds of immortality in China).



Yellow means summer in Italy, benevolence in Ukraine, envy in Germany.

In Mexico, Egypt and Ethiopia it is the color of mourning.

In South Africa, it means health, in Japan courage.


In Ireland it represents Protestantism.

Official dignitaries in China wear orange.

In Netherlands, it is the color of freedom.

Dalai Lama and other enlightened Buddhists are dressed in orange (for them, orange means humility).

In Japan and China orange is considered as the colour of love and happiness.

On some paintings of Adam and Eve in paradise artist draw oranges instead of apples on the tree of knowledge.


In Japan, red is the colour of women, in China it is the colour of happiness (it expels evil forces and spirits) and wealth. The bride is being dressed in a red wedding dress and carried around on a red stretcher to the place of the wedding ceremony. When the couple gets children, others are bringing them red eggs for happiness and well-being of a baby and entire family.

In Korea, the name of deceased is written in red.

In Catholic church it symbolizes blood and fire (Pentecost, Christ's suffering, fests of Martyrs); in Evangelical church red symbolizes martyr's and apostolic fests.

In Oceania, and in certain parts of Central Africa it is a colour of life (patient is rubbed with red okrom to promote life force).

Aborigines in Australia are using red as the colour of earth, for Maori in New Zealand it is the colour of nobility and divinity.

Wearing red ribbons or scarves in some nations is reserved for wedding traditions. Already in Roman times, the bride was wrapped in a bright red pieces of textile. Albanian, Greek and Armenian brides still wear red bridal veil.

In ancient Egypt, red colour was valuable and was used for make-up for daughter of Pharaoh (cheek, lips, nails).

The first man, Adam, was created by God from red soil (in Hebrew red is synonim for alive).

Red is the colour of ancient gods: Amon Ra in Egypt, god of war for Romans.

In some parts of Africa (South, Côte d'Ivoire) red is the colour of mourning.


It is very popular with less cultural people who are not under the influence of more cultural civilization. In civilized and sophisticated cultures it is not that much popular.

With Buddhists, in addition to yellow and orange, it is also popular for clothing.

Purple is the colour of Hinduism and feminism (symbolizing the right of women to power and equality with men).

Purple symbolizes bishops situation.

It is the color of penitence and fasting before Easter and Christmas.

Violet connects the physical world (red) with the spiritual world, the sky (blue) in the magical world of mystery (purple), where completely different rules apply.

Usually kings, rulers and priests were dressed in scarlet-violet. This expensive dye could only be afforded by wealthy, due to it was produced in very small amounts out of sea-snails (Murex), so purple (scarlet) have always been associated with nobility and spiritual power.

Small children were often wrapped in violet textille, since this would bring prosperity and success to a child.

In Brazil, it is the colour of mourning.


In India, gods are painted with blue heads and blue colour of the skin (eg. An elephant painted in blue stands as a sign of the highest spiritualization and divine enlightenment).

In the Oriental provinces, doors and windows are painted in blue to attract good spirits and gods. From this also originates the custom about babies that are supposed to be wrapped in blue textille. This tradition of patriarchy extended only to boys.

Virgin Mary is offten adorned with royal blue cape and thereby embodies calmness, loyalty, tradition.

In ancient Egypt dark blue colour represented water, and thus life. Egyptians wore blue jewelry because it was believed that blue had a healing power.

In China blue symbolizes immortality and heavenly forces.

In Iran, it symbolizes immortality and spirituality, holiness in Israel, and in South Africa happiness.

Blue, in Roman mythology, is associated with Jupiter and Mercury.

In the Old Testament God is shown in dark blue colour.

In Islam, the blue and turquoise are used for decorating mosques, as both of the colors represent faith and community.

Blue is the safest and most positive colour that symbolizes trust, so it is used by many banks.


In Ireland, itrepresents Catholicism.

The green colour is a symbol of hope and survival.

The European and Chinese tradition both associate green with spring and new growth.

For ancient Romans it was the color of Venus, the goddess of love.

In Islam, green colour is sacred, because Allah is present in nature (Alah is never drawn or represented in any form).

In ancient Palestine, brides wore green wedding dresses, meaning happy life and fertility.

In China, it is associated with infidelity in US with money in North Africa with corruption, in Indonesia is forbidden color, and in Malaysia with danger.


Brown is the colour of Aboriginal land. In India it is the colour of mourning.


Black, in most Western countries, is the colour of death and mourning.

In Thailand and Tibet, black is the colour of evil and disaster.

In New Zealand black is the national colour, with the Aboriginal, it is the colour of people.


bottom of page