The Culture of Colour

The Culture of Colour

Colours of Me by Bochaton Emmanuelle


I started writing this blog with the thought of the science of colour in mind and how colour impacts on brain function and mood and how our mood is reflected in our colour choices.  However, after doing some research I quickly found that there was more than one topic regarding colour that I wanted to explore!!!  This led to more than one blog topic on colour (keep an eye out for the blog 'Colour me Calm......or not').

I was previously aware that in some cultures there are significantly different meanings attached to colour to what I apply but I wasn't aware of the breadth of difference until I started to research further.  I was thinking about why and how this information might be useful and thought about colour choice when making gifts or when making items for sale.  Some colour choices could potentially be unintentionally offensive in some cultures!

So I thought I would collate some of the information I have sourced about the meaning of colour in culture.  




Australian Aboriginals - Land and Earth

Celtic - Death and Afterlife

India - fear, fire, wealth, power, purity, fertility, seduction, love and beauty.

South Africa - mourning

Thailand - Colour for Sunday

China - celebration, luck, prosperity, happiness and long life.  Worn on New Year and for funerals and weddings.

Western Cultures - excitement, energy, passion, action, love and danger

Egypt - good fortune

Middle East - Danger and Caution.

Iran - courage

Nigeria - aggression and vitality




France - jealousy, betrayal and weakness.

Germany - jealousy and envy

China - pornography!

Africa - money, quality and success

Egypt - happiness and good fortune

Japan - bravery, refinement and wealth

Thailand - Colour for Monday.

Western Cultures - happiness, cheeriness, optimism, warmth, joy, hope, caution and cowardice.




Western Cultures - melancholy, soothing, peaceful, calming, trust, security, authority, depression, loneliness, sadness and masculinity

Eastern Cultures - immortality

Ukraine - good health

China - Feminine and Immortality

Middle East - safety, protection, spirituality and immortality

Latin America - hope and good health

Judaism - holiness and divinity

Hinduism - Colour of Krishna 





Western Cultures - spring, money, freshness, jealousy, greed and envy

Ireland - luck

Eastern and Asian Cultures - eternal life, new beginnings, fertility, youth, health and prosperity.

Mexico - Independence

South America - death

Indonesia - forbidden colour




Eastern and Western Cultures - power, wealth, exclusivity, royalty and fame

UK, Italy, Brazil, Thailand and India - death and mourning

Brazil - bad luck to wear purple when you are not attending a funeral.





Western Cultures - fun, curious, harvest, warmth, visibility and creativity

Eastern Cultures - love, happiness, humility and good health

Netherlands - wealth and royalty

Egypt - mourning

Japan and China - courage, happiness, love and good health.

India - Fire 

Columbia - sexuality and fertility




Western Culture - femininity, love, romance, caring and tenderness

Japan - colour is more masculine than feminine

Korea - trust




Australian Aboriginals - The Land

Western Cultures - Practicality, Comfort, Wholesome and Stability

Eastern Cultures - Earth, Industrious and Mourning

India - Mourning

Middle East - Harmony, Earth and Comfort



Western Cultures - purity, elegance, peace and cleanliness

India - unhappiness

China and Korea - death, mourning and bad luck

Peru - angels, good health and time



Middle East - rebirth and mourning

Africa - maturity and masculinity

Western Cultures - sophistication, formality, death, evil, mourning, magic, fierceness, bad luck, illness and mystery.

Eastern Cultures - Health, Prosperity and Stability



    I hope you find this as useful and fascinating as I did!  

    If you have any cultural meanings for colour that I have missed I would love you to share them. 

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      1 comment

      thank you, I am sharing with my friends. One colour a day.

      Danielle Gareau

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