The colour red: activity, dynamics, danger, temperament, anger, warmth, …
The colour red: Red is preferably used when our life forces are weakened. It increases our energy level, our mental strength: because red stimulates all processes in the body, stimulates metabolic activities and has a strong influence on the vegetative nervous system. The warm red also has an invigorating and positive strengthening effect on an emotional level. It enhances sensuality, conscious experience and feeling and the expression of uninhibited passion. On a mental level, the energy of the colour red gives us a strong will, determination and stamina.
With the colour red, we humans associate ripe fruit, love and fluid of life, the blood. In magic, this colour is used in rituals which aim at health, fertility, love, courage and strength. The colour also stands for passion, emotions, aggressiveness and willpower.
The colour red is considered the colour of fire or blood. In Hebrew the words blood and red have the same origin: red means “dm” and blood means “dom”. Blood and fire have both a positive and a negative connotation. Hatred, war, aggression and bloodshed are opposed by power, love, warmth and passion. The bright, shining red was associated with the male principle in the Greeks and later in Christianity. It was the colour of the Greek war gods Phoebus and Ares.
The biblical Adam, was created from red earth. In early cultures, however, the dark red of the blood was associated with the feminine. The “Mother Earth” donated the red ochre, which was said to have life-supporting powers, to the peoples of the Stone Age. In Japan the red is still associated with the feminine.
Because of its soothing and warming effect, the colour red (as infrared radiation) is used for healing purposes. In general, it has a stimulating and appetite-enhancing effect. The mere perception of the colour red increases the human metabolism by 13.4 percent (source: Theroux, 1998). It is the favourite colour of children. Psychotherapy makes use of the colour red to release blocked abilities for constructive aggression and to live out sexuality.
The colour red can also trigger destructive aggression and violence. The huge canvases with a large red component exhibited by the artist Barnett Newman were attacked and damaged by viewers. The bullfighters in Spain, irritate the bulls with red cloths. But this is a fallacy, because the bulls are colour-blind and would react to other colours. They only react to the movement of the toreros.
Red is the colour of emotional outbursts: when you are ashamed or when you get angry, you blush. If you lose control over yourself, you “see red”.
In road traffic the colour red signals danger. Red traffic lights prohibit you from driving or walking, red brake lights and alarm buttons are also red. The signal effect of the colour red is successfully used in the animal kingdom for species identification, courtship display or as a warning colour.
Positive associations with the colour red:
happiness, joy of life, energy, activity, love, sexuality, eroticism, lust, seduction, power, fire, heat, warmth, desire, blood
Negative associations with the colour red:
the hatred, the anger, the rage, the fury, the excitement, the aggressiveness, the loud, the noise, the immorality, the danger, the forbidden
Red in culture and religion
- In China, red is the colour of luck and wealth.
- In Russia the colour red stands for the terms valuable and expensive.
- In Japan, red is the colour of women.
- In the Catholic Church, it symbolises blood and fire; Pentecost, the Passion of Christ and feasts of martyrdom. In the Protestant Church, Pentecost, feasts of Apostles and martyrs.
- In Korea, if you write a name in red, it signals that this person is dead.
Red is considered the colour of life in some parts of Africa. Therefore, in certain regions of Central Africa and Oceania, sick people are painted with red ochre to stimulate their vitality. For the Ashanti in West African Ghana, however, red is the colour of mourning.
The wearing of red ribbons or scarves was part of the wedding customs of many peoples. This tradition already existed in Roman times: Roman brides were wrapped in a scarlet cloth. Even today, modern Greek, Albanian and Armenian brides wear red bridal veils.
In China, the bride in a red wedding dress and a red litter is carried to the place of the wedding ceremony. When a child is born, the neighbours bring red eggs to the happy couple as a sign of good luck