Posted by: Jack Henry | November 2, 2021

Editor’s Corner: Blue and Yellow

Hello, my friends. A happy autumn morning to you and yours. Today I’m going to continue with the topics of colors and what they mean around the world. The other day we looked at red; today we’ll have a gander at blue and yellow. As before, I’ll start with the positive and negative feelings and idioms associated with these colors in traditionally Western cultures. Then, we’ll move around the globe to see how some of the other cultures of the world view them.

Western Details (from Daily Writing Tips)

Positive: stability, loyalty, harmony and trust. The sea and sky. Things heavenly.
Negative: depression, coldness
Idioms: true-blue (loyal); the blues (feelings of depression)

Positive: Sunny, happy, optimistic
Negative: deceitful, cowardly
Idioms: yellow, yellow-bellied, have a yellow streak down one’s back (cowardly). Yellow journalism (journalism more interested in sensationalism than facts).

Other Cultures’ Details (from What Colors Mean in Other Cultures)


From depression to royalty to trust, blue holds more meanings than any other color around the world.

In many Middle Eastern countries, blue means safety and protection, and is symbolic of heaven, spirituality, and immortality.

Many religions have their own associations for the color blue as well. For example, in many Latin American countries—which are known to have high Catholic populations— blue is a sign of hope and good health, and is symbolic of the Virgin Mary, who is often depicted wearing a blue robe and headscarf, and represents wealth.

In Judaism, blue is the shade for holiness and divinity, and in Hinduism it’s the color of Krishna—the most highly worshipped Hindu god who embodies love and joy, and destroys pain and sin.


For a color that makes many of us feel cheery and warm, yellow has some surprisingly dark meanings in other cultures.

Take France, for example, where yellow signifies jealously, betrayal, weakness, and contradiction. In the 10th century, the French painted the doors of traitors and criminals yellow. And in Germany, yellow symbolizes jealousy.

In China, yellow is associated with pornography. When the Chinese term for "yellow picture" or "yellow book" is used to discuss any type of publication or media, it’s in reference to pornographic images and websites.

Yellow is reserved only for people of high rank in many African nations, because of its close resemblance to gold, which is universally associated with money, quality, and success. Egyptians also closely associate yellow with gold, which was commonly used to paint mummies and tombs before the deceased were sent to the afterlife, making it symbol for mourning.

In Japanese culture, yellow has represented bravery, wealth, and refinement since the War of Dynasties in 1357. During this time, warriors wore yellow chrysanthemums—which represent the emperor in Japan and royal family—as a pledge of courage.

Considered lucky in Thai culture, yellow is the lucky color for Monday, and it’s considered the most important shade of the week because it represents the King of Thailand, King Bhumibol, who has held reign since June 9, 1946, and was born on December 5th, in 1927—a Monday. To pay tribute to the king, many Thais wear yellow on Mondays, and some schools require all teachers to wear yellow during the first week of December.

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her

Technical Editor, Advisory

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