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The Chroma Of Colour White

Posted by Astha Khandelwal
January 24, 2017

White, an inherently positive colour, marks the dawn and dusk in our life.

Inception of life is your birth wherein hospitals, the doctors and the nurses, put on white apparels and associate positivism, cleanliness, sterility and safety to the newborn life and the final stroke of the life is the kiss of death where people traditionally wear white clothes as a symbol of mourning and the body is covered with white sheets before burning as a symbol of purity for the dead one’s soul.

White also represents a marital colour, marking an onset of a new phase of life again. The Christian brides dress in white gowns on their nuptial day representing beauty, innocence and chastity and the white lilies in their hands represent Madonna or virgin Mary. The white wedding gown of Queen Victoria, which she famously wore in 1840 set forth the colour and fashion of wedding dresses in both Europe and America. The tradition of white bed covers on nuptial nights is again associated with royalty, simplicity, purity, virginity, and integrity.

In heraldry, white depicts goodness, innocence, safety, brilliance and perfection. This particular illustration is depicted in movies, books and television, which typically depicts the hero or the good protagonist in white and the villainous character in black. Colour of wisdom also demonstrates angelic figurines having a divine illumination and white glow. Also, the source of illumination in the dusk are the white stars and the moonlit sky.

White, an underlying skeletal colour, gives structure and shape to every living being to carry their different daily movements. Also, the white blood cells in the human body act as Achilles’ shield to the infectious diseases invading our body. Hence, the white colour is a colour of elemental significance and immunity.

The white colour of snow represents coolness and serenity. The cooling colour affects the mind and body by aiding in mental clarity, clearing emotional clutter, silencing the inner critic and promoting feelings of fresh beginnings and renewal. It tends to the removal of prejudice and pre-conceived notions, assisting in cleansing, clearing obstacles and encouraging the purification of thoughts and actions.

The most contrasting facet of the colour is its divine and ghostly symbolism.

White is a significant colour for almost all religions. In the Bible, white represents the colour of light and is an emblem of the divine. The symbol of purity and sacrifice is worn by the Pope, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, by the Muslim and Japanese pilgrims and by the Brahmins in India. Since ancient times, temples, churches and many government buildings have traditionally been white, the colour associated with religious and civic virtue.

In contrast, white is the colour associated with ghosts and phantoms as well.  Ghosts are said to be the spirits of the dead who are unable to rest or invade the doors of heaven and as a result walk down the earth in their white shrouds as the dead were traditionally buried in a white shroud in the past. White is connected with the paleness of death. A common expression in English is ‘pale as a ghost’.

And lastly, the two most prominent idiosyncrasy of the colour are ‘Peace’ and ‘Truth’. The best example for the same is the white colour in a flag; used to represent either surrender or a request for a truce and the Dove bird; an international allegory for peace.


Image source: Wonderful_World** (in and out)/ Flickr