Color and Religion

Topics: Green, Islam, Jesus Pages: 5 (1449 words) Published: December 14, 2014
Color has so much meaning in our world today. Different countries and their cultures see different meaning in color. Religion is a major part of color distinction and meaning. The color red means something different to Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, and Islamic religions. Traditions and beliefs change the meaning of colors in religions around the world.

Christianity is a monotheistic religion and teaches the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Christians believe in Jesus Christ ad follow him as the Son of God as prophesized in the Old Testament of the Bible. They see the New Testament as a record of the gospel reveled by Jesus. Throughout the Bible, color is used as a recurring theme and as an insight to the principles of the religion.

Black is a powerful association with negative aspects in Christianity. It symbolizes death, plague, famine, and sorrow. Primarily, black is the color of sin and judgment in Christianity with the exception to a hair color. Blue, on the other hand, is a heavenly color. It is used to represent water, cleansing, and holy service. This color is used consistently in Christianity for decorating holy spaces.

Green marks nature. It symbolizes life, growth, freshness, maturity, and frailty. On the other side of green, is grey. Grey is associated with old age and the beauty of it. While it does represent weakness, repentance, and morning, it is placed on the forehead as a ritual of repentance.

Red is a powerful color in Christianity. It symbolizes Pentecost or the great feast held fifteen days after Easter. Skin color, wine, bloodied water, and temptation are all represented by the color red. It is a very diversely used color in the religion. Close to the color red, crimson symbolizes life. It can also represent sacrifice and the remission of sin. The covenant, which is an agreement between God and his followers, is represented by the color red. With all of the good that red is, it is the same color that is used for association with Satan and the Devil.

Holiday colors come from the Christian religion. Christmas and Easter have been very commercialized and are now celebrated by Christians and non-Christians. Deep hues red, green, white, and gold are commonly used for the Christmas season. Easter has more of a pastel color palette celebrating the resurrection of Jesus with pinks, yellows, blues, and greens.

Buddhism relies heavily on color and the “rainbow body.” This is the highest level of meditative achievement where the body is transformed into pure light before Nirvana, which is the goal end result of all Buddhist meditation. To possess a rainbow body means to possess all colors and these colors embody specific teachings in the Buddhist religion.

Blue in Buddhism represents tranquility, infinite, purity, and healing. Light and dark blue have different meanings where the light blue is better represented by turquoise. This holds the wisdom of the earth and sky within it, which simultaneously embodies the duality of living and dying. Blue is a reminder of human life and wearing this color is thought to give a long life and absorb sin. A dark blue surpasses the diamond in value in the Buddhist culture. It is considered a color of healing and is it to relax nervous conditions.

Black is similar to Christianity in that it represents darkness and hate. Buddhists believe that learning about darkness and hate, rather than ignoring it, is a path of clarity and truth. Black is commonly used is paintings as a background of a gold image. This represents other worldly manifestations that are evil whereas on a white background, it wouldn’t be so eerie.

As in many other cultures and religions, white is a representative of purity but also knowledge and longevity in Buddhist culture. With white being the color of snow and melting of metal, Buddhists consider it a color of extremes. A white elephant is a historically religious element for a white elephant touched the right side of Buddha’s mother in a dream...

References: "Green in Islam." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Feb. 2014. Web. 9 Dec. 2014. .
"Colors of Religion: Buddhism." Color Design Blog / by COLOURlovers. Web. 9 Dec. 2014. .
"Colors of Religion: Judaism." Color Design Blog / by COLOURlovers. Web. 9 Dec. 2014. .
"Colors of Religion: Christianity." Color Design Blog / by COLOURlovers. Web. 9 Dec. 2014. .
"Why Is the Color Green so Important in the Muslim World?" Slate Magazine. Web. 9 Dec. 2014. .
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