Infographic: The Meaning Behind Colours Around the World

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Colours and Their Meanings Around the World

To some people, colours are simply the expression of the parts of the electromagnetic spectrum which are visible to our photoreceptors. A bit of a tongue-twister but there you have it, a perfect scientific rendition of what colours really are. To the rest of us however, they are what we see when we look at the world around us. They are bright and they are dull, they are sharp and they are soft. They are everything our eyes have ever seen. It is no wonder then, that the history of humanity is filled with the values and meanings that we ascribe to certain colours. Some bring us luck whilst others warn of danger. We already know how other countries think about gambling, but how do they interpret colours? Read on to find out.


Situated on the eastern borders of Europe with Russia for a neighbor, Ukraine doesn’t exactly have the warmest of climates. In these circumstances, it’s perhaps not altogether surprising that blue is one of their national colours. However, the frequent frigidity of temperatures that makes blue such a prominent colour in the national consciousness is not the reason behind their adoption of the colour blue. Rather, it represents the blue skies that were so important for the growing of their grain. A sheaf of wheat cut from the last of the good grain was traditionally placed in the home during the harvest festival to ensure peace and prosperity. Thought of like this, it is little surprise that the colour blue is often associated with good health.


Mexico established their independence in 1821. Then as now, their flag contains the colours green, white and red but their order on the flag has changed over time. To Mexicans, the colour green represents hope as well as independence (and of course money). If you fancied some independence from sobriety and wanted to celebrate their Independence Day too, you could always try a Mexican Flag shooter which has a neat separation of colours with green very much at the top.


In a nation awash with colours and diversity, red occupies a special place in the affections of India. Often associated with the revered goddess Durga, red is a dynamic and fiery colour which represents spirituality, fertility and purity. This is best exemplified through its use in the union of couples in marriage ceremonies. The bride’s wedding dress is often covered in red and as is the tikka on her forehead, which denotes her commitment. It is hoped that this union will be fertile and prosperous for both. The prevalence of colour in anything that is related to this country is evident everywhere. Interiors decorated according to Indian tastes will be a splash of colours, with red dominant in choice objects. Books which follow a storyline set in India, Bollywood movies and even a slot named The Secrets of India. One look at an Indian Sari is enough to settle this point once and for all.


It seems fitting that a country as warm and bright as Egypt is would count yellow as a fortunate colour given the ubiquitous presence of the sun. In fact, in ancient Egypt, the sun-god Ra was worshipped by all. Yellow is also associated with gold, a substance which was thought to be eternal and indestructible; even used as a sign of power by Cleopatra. On this note, if the allure of gold tempts you, you too might try one of our high-roller bonuses.


The colour orange can often represent harvest time and the bounty of crops which can be harvested at that time. In Columbia, orange has come to represent both sexuality and fertility. It is a dynamic and flamboyant colour which, though similar to red, contains less of a threat and instead lends itself to fun times. Indeed, Frank Sinatra once noted that it is the happiest of colours and if fun-loving Colombia and the Sinatra are in agreement, you know they must be onto something. Put on your orange cap, some chilled Colombian music in the background and you’re all set to have a good time.

Brazil and Thailand

When in Brazil, it pays to be mindful of some of their societal norms. For example, even with the best will in the world, one should never proffer a gift that is wrapped in purple, as that colour is associated with mourning. This extends to purple orchids too. So don’t say that you haven’t been warned if you girl you give them to rewards you with a smacking slap! Likewise in Thailand, purple is also associated with grief and mourning. Tradition also dictates that you shouldn’t wear purple on a Thursday as to do so invites bad luck.


Here’s a word of warning for all you men who consider yourselves to be dedicated followers of fashion – when in China, do not wear a green hat. You can if you want to, but doing so wouldn’t exactly improve your street cred. Essentially, the donning of a green hat indicates that your significant other has, shall we say, been playing away from home and it is you who must bear the public shame.

China, South Korea et al

China takes a different approach to the West in many ways but one of the more noticeable ones might be seen by their wearing of white during times of mourning as it is the recognized colour of clothes for funeral ceremonies. In South Korea, white is also worn at funerals to celebrate the journey to the afterlife. Indeed, white is often the colour of mourning in many countries of South East Asia.

South Africa

In South Africa, red is the colour of mourning. However, the true meaning of the colour runs even deeper than that, as the use of red in their national flag symbolizes the violence and sacrifices made during their long struggle toward independence. What South Africa enjoys now in land and online casinos, freedom of speech and other commodities, it has had to fight for bitterly in the past. The colour red is like a remembrance token, should they take for granted what they have now.


Belgium is a curious country at the best of times. In fact, to call it a country as such is to disregard the very real political and cultural divide between the Dutch-speaking Flanders in the north and the French-speaking Wallonia in the south. Leaving aside the political oddness and language diversity present in the country, in a move that might be considered a forerunner to current gender-neutral outlooks, Belgium used to dress baby boys in the colour pink. They weren’t alone in this, of course, as many countries used to act similarly until someone decided that pink was really a colour best suited for girls. Our own opinion is that no one should dress in pink at all but what do we know?


In Chinese culture, the colour yellow has long been held in esteem as the colour most fitting imperial power. It adorned royal palaces and temples and could be seen in the robes of emperors. The Chinese consider it to be symbolic of heroism and loyalty, the polar opposite of how it is generally viewed in the West.


In a story which may or may not be true, the origin of the term ‘the blues’ comes from Iran where it is the colour most associated with mourning. Given that mourning is often tied to a belief in the afterlife, it’s perhaps not surprising that blue is also associated with spirituality and immortality. In ancient Persia, blue was also associated with trust.

Australian Aboriginals

The flag of the Aboriginal people of Australia is red, yellow and black, colours which represent the earth, sun and the people respectively. The colour red has a deep resonance insofar as it not only relates to the physical earth and soil but also the more ephemeral spiritual relation to the land. Red is also an important colour when used in traditional ceremonies. It is no wonder therefore that when we see an image of Australia online or on books, red black and yellow are the colours which dominate the scene.


There is a long and interesting history associated with the colour purple in Japan. Due to the difficulty in the colour from any natural source, it was extremely rare and when something is extremely rare it means that it is out of reach of the common man. Therefore, for many hundreds of years, purple was the colour of the ruling class and ordinary people were forbidden to wear it. Although those norms no longer apply today, purple is still associated with wealth and privilege.


MrGamez thinks that, although some colours have very specific meaning associated with them in different countries, some are altogether more generally understood across the board. Take the colour brown, for example. Although not a particularly evocative colour, brown is at least the colour of soil in most countries around the world and, generally speaking, cultures have found the act of growing crops to be beneficial if they wanted to continue living for any length of time. Which is why it is slightly curious to learn that in Nicaragua, brown is often associated with disapproval. Two possible answers spring to mind for this quirk; i) because the elite of the country rarely got their hands dirty through manual labour and tilling of the fields and therefore thought the colour unbecoming of them, or ii) well, we’ll leave that one to your imagination!

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