Color plays a vital role in our lives, so it shapes the way in which we share our moods. The way in which different cultures see and describe the meaning of color varies widely around the world. For example, the Basa people in Liberia have only two words for color classification: ziza for orange, red, and yellow; and hui for green, blue, and purple, while the Inuit is said to have 17 different words for white color, which are subject to adjustment according to different ice conditions.
Here’s a more in-depth look at what different colors mean and symbolize around the world.
Blue color semantics
Blue is the safest option around the world since it contains many positive impressions. In North America and Europe, blue represents trust, security, and power, and prepares a calm and peaceful color, but it can also represent depression, loneliness, and sadness.
In some countries, blue symbolizes healing and the expulsion of evil. The blue amulets in the shape of the eye, believed to protect from the evil eye, are common sights in Turkey, Greece, Iran, Afghanistan, and Albania. In Eastern cultures, blue symbolizes immortality, while in Ukraine it refers to good health, And in Hinduism blue is strongly associated with Krishna, which embodies love and divine joy.
In Western cultures, green represents luck, nature, freshness, spring, environmental awareness, wealth, lack of experience and jealousy.
Of course, green is the symbolic color of Ireland, which has gained the title of “emerald island” of lush green landscapes. Indonesia has traditionally banned green, while in Mexico it is the national color that represents independence. Green in the Middle East represents fertility, fortune and wealth. Green is the traditional color of Islam. In Eastern cultures, green color symbolizes youth, fertility and new life, but it can also mean treason! In fact, in China, green hats are taboo for men because they indicate that their wives have committed adultery!
Red color semantics
Red symbolizes excitement, energy, passion, action, love and danger in Western cultures. Red is also associated with communism and revolution in countries like Russia. In Asian cultures, red is a very important color. It symbolizes good luck, joy, prosperity, celebration, happiness, and long life, and because it is auspicious color, brides often wear red on their wedding day and red envelopes with cash During holidays and special occasions.
In India, red is associated with purity, sensibility, and spirituality. On the other hand, in some countries in Africa, red is associated with death, and in Nigeria, it is aggressive and vital, while red is a mantra of luck in Egypt, symbolizing good luck and courage in Iran.
Yellow color semantics
In Western cultures, yellow is associated with happiness, joy, optimism, hope, warmth (as the color of sunlight), as well as caution and cowardice. In Germany the yellow color is envy, but in Egypt, it involves happiness and good luck.
Orange color semantics
Orange represents autumn, harvest, warmth, and visibility in Western cultures. In Hinduism, saffron (a soft orange color) is a mimuna and a sanctuary. In the Netherlands, orange is the color of the Dutch royal family, while Orange represents sexuality and fertility in Colombia. In Oriental cultures, orange symbolizes love, happiness, humility and good health. The robes of Buddhist monks are often Portuguese.
Color purple connotations
Purple is often associated with kings, wealth, spirituality and nobility throughout the world. Historically, in Japan, Buddhist monks of the highest rank were wearing purple robes. Purple is also associated with piety and faith, and in Catholicism by repentance. However, in Brazil and Thailand, purple is the color of mourning, and it is also the color of honor. “The Purple Heart is the oldest military award given to US military personnel.
White color semantics
In white cultures, white is symbolized by purity, elegance, peace, and cleanliness. The brides traditionally wear white dresses at weddings, but in China, Korea and some other Asian countries white represent death, mourning, and bad luck, traditionally worn at funerals.
Black color semantics
In many cultures, black symbolizes evolution and official character but also represents death, evil, magic, cruelty, disease, bad luck and mystery. In the Middle East black can represent the new birth and mourning, and in Africa, the black symbolizes age, maturity, and masculinity.
When companies become more global, it may be useful to understand the multicultural meanings of colors. By knowing the symbolism of different colors around the world, you will be able to speak to your audience in a culturally appropriate and efficient way.