The Colour Yellow
The colour yellow: light, sun, illumination, brightness, …
The colour yellow: In our latitudes the colour yellow is only relatively popular. It is associated with envy, betrayal and cowardice and is rarely chosen as a favourite colour. Nevertheless, yellow is a warm colour because it is associated with terms like sun and light. But yellow also stands for alertness, creativity and a quick mind.
The colour yellow symbolizes sunlight, knowledge and the thriving of the living, but also autumn and maturity. The sun was worshipped as a god by many primitive peoples. The ancient Greeks imagined the Greek sun god Helios in a yellow robe riding across the sky on a chariot pulled by four fire horses. The radiant yellow light of the sun and its gods embodied divine intelligence. In China the colour yellow is associated with the male yang, the active creative principle. However, the ancient Egyptians, and also the painter Franz Marc, saw in yellow the feminine, the “gentle, cheerful, sensual”. Since the Middle Ages yellow has also been considered the colour of envy and the colour of shame by discriminated groups.
In Europe, yellow mostly symbolises light and life, but is then also associated with gold together. With the Celts, however, yellow was also the colour of mourning. In our culture yellow also symbolises envy, stinginess, jealousy, mendacity and selfishness. Not so in China, where yellow is the colour of harmony and wisdom.
In Mexico, when the dead return to All Saints’ Day, the paths are decorated with yellow flowers, because it is believed that the dead can see the colour yellow best.
In Hinduism, women wear yellow at the beginning of the Hindu solar year (Vaisakhi), among other things, and generally at spring festivals, yellow saris and also at feasts the colour yellow dominates. The colour yellow, symbolic of life, light, truth and immortality in Hinduism, is the main colour of the festive dress of men and women during Vasant Panchami, the festival in honour of the goddess Saraswati. Also the statues of this goddess of learning and wisdom are wrapped in yellow clothes and yellow flowers are sacrificed to her.
Positive associations with the colour yellow:
Light, sun, enlightenment, brightness, alertness, creativity, ripe fruit, flower scent, blossoms, gold, optimism, joyfulness, joy of life, pleasure, kindness
Negative associations with the colour blue:
Poison, bile, pus, sulphur, envy, jealousy
Yellow in culture and religion
- Yellow is the most luminous colour and is associated with the sun, so most religions attribute a central importance to the sun and worship it as a life-giving deity.
- The colour of Lamaism.
- Many cultures attribute a protective effect to the colour yellow.
- In India, brides wore torn yellow dresses before their wedding to drive away evil spirits.
- In the Orient, Egypt, Russia and some Balkan countries yellow is the colour of weddings.