Blue is tranquil. Blue is calming. Blue is the expanse of the sky and the depths of the ocean. Blue’s soothing effect suppresses the appetite. In chromotherapy, the color blue calms, relaxes, and opens communication. It is sometimes used to soothe illnesses and treat pain.
Did you know that Pantone selects a special color to correspond with each year? This year it’s turquoise (specifically 15-5519 Turquoise). Pantone “selected the luminous color based on its juxtaposition of tranquil blue notes and energizing green tones.”
Blue is the color between violet and green. In color theory, blue is one of the three primary colors. It’s complementary color is orange.
- Fear of blue: cyanophobia
- Blue symbolizes harmony, trust, and loyalty.
- Blue symbolizes wisdom, confidence, and intelligence.
- Blue is the symbol of faith, truth, and heaven.
- Blue foreshadows or adds emphasis to a scene: detachment, powerlessness, rationality, melancholy, passiveness, and/or depending on the shade warmth or coldness.
Superstitions and Beliefs
- The pharaohs of ancient Egypt wore blue for protection against evil; later, blue was used for protection against witches.
- Blue is the color of mourning in Iran, Turkey, and Central Asia.
- In the United States, brides wear something blue as a symbol of purity.
- An old English custom is for brides to wear blue ribbons on their wedding gown, a blue sapphire in her wedding ring, and add blue speedwell flowers to the wedding bouquet symbolized faithfulness and fidelity.
- Some American Indian tribes consider blue a lucky color. However, to the Hopi people blue symbolized the west, and the house of death. A dream about a person carrying a blue feather was considered a very bad omen.
- Blue beads, shells, and bones are worn to avert the evil eye.
- A blue iris means: “Your friendship is very important to me.”
- In Germany, to give someone a blue eye (blaues auge) is to look at them with anger or hostility. However, one who looks at the world with a blue eye is considered naive.
- In China, blue is associated with torment, ghosts, and death. In a traditional Chinese opera, a character with a face powdered blue is a villain.
- In Korea and Iran, it is the color of mourning.
- In Thailand, light blue is the color of Friday. It is good luck to wear light blue on Friday. It is unlucky on Sundays and dark blue on Fridays.
- Due to the rarity of blue (and green) eyes in the Aegean Region and other areas, it was believed people with these color eyes could curse them (intentionally or unintentionally). This became known at the evil eye. To ward against the curse, amulets (nazar) resembling blue eyes were made and hung in the home, businesses, and in trees as well as worn on the body.
- In Christianity, blue is associated with the Virgin Mary and thought to provide protection for children.
- In Christianity, blue represents the sin of lust, and light blue represents sloth.
- In Judaism, the Torah tells the Israelites to put fringes (tzitzit) on the corners of their garments with blue thread woven in it. According to several rabbinic sages, blue is the color of God’s Glory.
- In Hinduism, many of the gods are depicted as having blue-colored skin.
- American Indians associate blue face paint with wisdom and intuition, and blue war paint with confidence.
- In medieval Europe, blue symbolized spirituality.
- Blue represents the fifth (throat) chakra.
- It has been theorized that early man was unable to distinguish blue from green, and that ability developed later.
- Lapis lazuli pigment can be seen in the 6th and 7th-century AD cave paintings in Afghanistani Zoroastrian and Buddhist temples.
- Egyptians prized all things blue and lapis lazuli believing that it possessed life-giving powers. They often used it to colored eyes, hair, and crowns on statues and painting.
- Public servants in ancient Rome wore blue.
- In an old naval sailing tradition if a ship loses her captain, a blue stripe was painted on the ships hull and the ship would fly blue flags and when returning to home port.
- In Heraldry, blue (azure) signifies loyalty, chastity, truth, strength, and faith.
- The men of the Tuareg people in North Africa wear a blue turban called a tagelmust. Early visitors called them the “Blue Men” of the Sahara.
- During Queen Elizabeth I reign (1558 to 1603), only the Queen and her court were allowed to wear blue. The queen went so far as to imposed Sumptuary Laws that forbade anyone without noble blood from wearing blue.
- In the 1700s, wearing dark blue worsted stockings was casual wear as opposed to the formal black silk stockings.
- Blue was considered a delicate and dainty tone and therefore a feminine color before WWII. The shift to pink came post war when women who’d worked in the factories wore blue wanted a change (that and Mamie Eisenhower).
Pigments & Dyes
- Blue dye was rare. It’s not an earth color. There are three ancient blue pigments. The first was made from lapis lazuli and azurite. The stone was ground into a powder, mixed with wax, and kneaded into dilute lye bath. The color was a deep, rich ultramarine blue.
- The second pigment was derived through chemistry. The ancient Egyptians heated limestone, sand, and copper. The result was a turquoise pigment often referred to as Egyptian Blue. The ancient Chinese blended copper with elements like barium, lead and mercury.
- The third blue comes from the Mesoamericans. Known Maya or Mayan Blue it is believed to have been a mix of indigo plant extract, a clay mineral, and copal.
Phrases and Sayings
Blau sein – German for ‘to be blue’ means to be drunk
Blue blood – person of noble descent
Blue comedy – humorous entertainment bordering on indelicacy to gross indecency
Blue devils – feeling depressed
Blue funk – very depressed
Blue in the face – something done repeatedly without achieving the desired result until you’re incredibly frustrated
Blue law – “laws” used to enforce moral standards
Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year (the third Monday in January)
Blue moon – the second new moon in a month or the third of four full moons in a season
Blue movie – one with explicit sex
Blue plate special – a specially low-priced meal
Blue ribbon – first prize at a county fair
Bluestocking – an intellectual or literary woman
Feeling blue – to feel sad
Hot as blue blazes – extremely hot
Into the blue – into the unknown
Once in a blue moon – a rare event
Out of the blue – something unexpected
Talk a blue streak – speaking quickly and at length
True blue – someone who is loyal and dependable
Turning blue – when the skin, nails, and/or lips turn blue do to lack of oxygen in the blood stream
Singing the Blues – feeling sad or complaining about problems
Meanings of Shades and Tints of Blue
- Light blue: devotion and understanding
- Dark blue: expertise, stability, power, integrity, and seriousness
- Aqua: emotional healing and protection
- Turquoise: communication, confidence, and strength
Words for Blue
celeste / sky
robin’s egg blue
sea / sea water
brine / briny deep
royal blue (after 1950)
pavonated / peacock blue
cobalt / smalt
royal blue (traditional)
Blue and You
Are you wearing blue right now?
You are calm and tranquil today.
Are you wearing dark blue?
Your brain is working great today and you are able to make good decisions.
Are you wearing light blue?
You are of a sensitive nature today and are feeling creative.
Look in your closet. Is blue a predominate color in your wardrobe?
Is it dark blue?
You are self reliant and responsible. You dislike noise and desire peacefulness and affection.
Is it light blue?
You like to do things in your own way and time. You are creative, practical, and sensitive.
Do you just dislike the color blue?
You have a fear of failure and fear losing your social position or wealth.
Light blue: You are afraid of change.
Dark blue: Someone has been disloyal and let you down. You suffer from a loss of faith.
Do you drive a blue car?
Light-mid blue: You are calm, faithful, and true.
Dark blue: You are confident, credible, authoritative.
*Chromophobia, also known as chromatophobia or chrematophobia, is a persistent, irrational fear of, or aversion to, colors and is usually a conditioned response. Color phobis are often caused by a traumatic experience from the past, usually childhood. The color becomes associated with the trauma but the individual may not remember the event or realize the connection. It could also be culturally related with meanings attached to the color. Conditioning or brain chemistry may also be the cause. While actual clinical phobias to color are rare, colors can elicit hormonal responses and psychological reactions. Reactions include heart palpations, panic, sweating, breathlessness, nausea, shaking, dizziness, and dry mouth. Treatments include behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, exposure therapy, and psychotherapy.
Do you think it’s the new neutral?
(Neutral colors in clothing refer to colors that go with everything and seems to blend in rather than stand out.)