Asia has almost entirely built its history around colors and their meanings. These represent the elements such as luck, health, and even life. To apprehend this article, one will have to lose the very Cartesian Western spirit to delve into the dreamy symbolism of Asian culture. But what are the different important colors in Asia? What are these colours related to? Together, let’s discover a colorful world where every detail has its importance.
What colors in Asia?
In Asia, all colors are important. Some are, however, more present than others and have special and strong meanings. Sometimes auspicious, sometimes a source of misfortun3. It is important to know these colors and their meanings if you travel on this continent or if you wish to offer a present to one of your loved ones.
But let’s get to the heart of the matter. On this continent, 5 colors are the most important: red, yellow, green, blue and white. These represent both elements, but also directions, and even seasons. For example, yellow will be associated with the earth elemental and will represent the center and end of summer. Red on the other hand, is associated with fire, south and summer. To simplify the task, here is a detailed table of the different representations.
With this table, we can easily realize that Asian countries have a very visual relationship with nature. Even in our regions, in winters with low temperatures, the landscape takes on a bluish hue. Spring will be around and the summer of fire will be red. Simple, isn’t it?
But colors don’t just have visual specifications. Indeed, they also govern certain forms of beliefs of daily life because of their symbolism.
The meaning of different colors
Associated with the sun and the end of summer as we could see above, yellow also has another meaning. In most Asian countries, yellow is reserved for royalty. Its precious side often inclined to gold, is the symbol of wealth. In Japan, this color is also associated with courage and strength. For Buddhists, this color is related to spirituality.
If red is the symbol of love in the West, Asia has another definition of that color. It is also the most important color of the Asian territory. In China, weddings are celebrated in red. It is a color of joy and a harbinger of happiness. In India, it symbolizes purity. In Vietnam, it is associated with luck. Finally, in Japan, it is the symbol of the goddess Amaterasu. We’ll introduce the latter later, in a future dedicated article.
Green is a very positive colour in Asia. Viewed as a refreshing color in Japan, it is associated with Jade and humans in China. A symbol of fertility, a male life force. It is offered at weddings and celebrations throughout the country. In Thailand, green is linked to Wednesday and represents Buddha’s Day.
In Asia, the colors Black represents yang. It is a symbol of strength and authority. It is also related to honesty in China. In Japan, colour takes on a more negative meaning. Indeed, in the archipelago, black is considered to represent evil, illegality or guilt. In India, colour symbolizes death and darkness.
Finally, white has a very different meaning in Asia. Indeed, the nuance of yin is associated with death and mourning and immortality. But beware, Asian mourning is very different from Western mourning. Indeed, in the land of the rising sun, mourning is not personal and colour is present to accompany the deceased to the kingdom of heaven.