Discover 5 Colors That Represent Death (and Where to See Them in Nature)
Color symbolism is significant around the world and for many different cultures, especially when it comes to colors that represent death. Mourning practices and beliefs are deeply rooted in society, regardless of where you live or what you believe. There are many psychological effects when it comes to colors that represent or are associated with death. But what might some of these colors be?
Today, we will use color symbolism and theory to discuss five colors that represent death, found around the world. Whether you are interested in learning more about color psychology or are perhaps dealing with your own grief, this article is all about the colors that represent the existential concept of death. Let’s begin now.
Which Colors Represent Death?
Many colors represent death depending on where you live in the world, including black, gray, white, yellow, and purple. Black is certainly the main color connected to death in Western cultures. However, many other colors hold significance in regard to mourning and funereal customs in other parts of the world.
Given just how many different ways death is viewed, discussed, and dealt with, there are a surprising number of colors connected to it. For example, red is often associated with death in South Africa, though it is not an appropriate color for funerals held in other countries. Depending on your beliefs and cultural norms, some of these colors may surprise you when it comes to their meaning and connections to death!
Speaking of these colors, let’s discuss the colors that represent death in detail now.
Did you know that we primarily wear black to represent mourning because of Queen Victoria? While this Queen of England popularized wearing black as a mourning color, this tradition appears to date back to Roman times. Black is considered a somber color in general, often associated with death, regret, and negativity. It is also a severe and authoritative color. This may be why it is worn to funerals as a sign of respect and reverence.
In direct opposition to the color black, white represents death in certain parts of the world. Associated with rebirth and the purity of beginning again, white is a more optimistic color to connect to death. Buddhism is one reason this color is associated with death. But Queen Victoria also had an opinion about the color white. While she wore black to mourn her husband, Prince Albert, Queen Victoria requested a burial featuring white, including her own funeral outfit.
Connected to depression, hopelessness, and other feelings that may coincide with death, gray has become readily associated with this concept. In modern funerals, particularly in Western locations, gray has begun to make an appearance as opposed to the stark, traditional color of black. Gray also represents the abstract, existential feelings surrounding death, particularly the unknown.
Connected to resurrection and beliefs rooted in Catholicism, the color purple is connected to death and mourning. Thailand and Brazil associate purple with death and funeral traditions. Both countries have established certain superstitions or beliefs surrounding this color. Likewise, Catholic priests don the color purple to represent the resurrection and other cyclical concepts in their religion.
While typically associated with joy, optimism, and happiness, yellow is also connected to death in certain cultures. Ancient Egyptians in particular wore yellow in times of mourning. They typically buried their dead in shades of gold or surrounded by golden things. Despite its association with death in ancient Egyptian culture, yellow is often considered a sign of respect and honor in regard to the dead.
Symbolism Behind the Colors That Represent Death
As you can no doubt guess, there are many different symbols behind the colors that represent death. Most of these symbolic meanings are rooted in specific cultures, belief systems, and even popular culture. When it comes to color psychology and theory, black is often the first and foremost color associated with death. However, there have been many colors connected to this universal concept since the very beginning.
Where to Find Colors Representing Death in Nature
No matter the reason, you may be wondering where to find the colors that represent death out in the world and in our natural environments. Here are some ideas so that you can explore this existential, important concept surrounded by the colors that represent it.
Contemplate the Stars and the Color Black
The night sky and stars above represent the finality and emptiness of death in many ways. Blackness can be found no matter where you are, so long as you look up at the evening sky above you. The quietude found during nighttime may also offer you comfort and plenty of opportunities to reflect upon what death and the color black mean to you.
Snowy Landscapes Hold the Color White
The cold and blinding landscape offered by snowy locations may help you contemplate the color white. If it isn’t winter where you are currently located, finding this color may be a bit more difficult in our natural world. However, winter itself is often considered a time of death and stillness before rebirth. This is why it’s the perfect time to enjoy the snow and the color white offered by this season.
Let Overcast Days Show You the Color Gray
Waiting for a cloudy day may be the perfect time to contemplate the color gray and its connections to death. When things are looking particularly overcast in your location, take some time to observe the clouds as well as how you feel. While death shouldn’t always be something that depresses you, the gray of an overcast day may make you feel a bit under the weather emotionally.
Flowers Bring You the Color Purple
It’s fitting that purple represents the resurrectional and newborn qualities that follow death, especially if you are able to find this color in nature. Flowers and other plants may be the only place you find the color purple in our natural world. But this is the best way to view this particular color. Flowers also represent rebirth and resurrection in many ways.
Yellow is Represented By the Sun
If spending time outside during an overcast day doesn’t exactly appeal to you, you may want to seek the color yellow and the shining sun whenever you wish to contemplate the concept of death. Plants and fields may hold the color yellow. However, the sun represents life itself and the color yellow quite well. In fact, the duality of the sun is a perfect representation when we consider both life and death in equal measure.
Nature Holds Colors of Both Life and Death
No matter the reason you choose to contemplate death, doing so in nature may help you heal and reach a deeper understanding of this ephemeral concept. There are many colors that represent death, with each and every meaning just as unique as the last. While nature may hold colors that represent this final concept, know that nature also represents life and the fullness of living!
Summary of Colors That Represent Death
|Colors||Where to Find Them|
|Black||Night sky, caves|
|White||Snowy landscapes, clouds|
|Gray||Overcast days, mountains|
|Yellow||Sunshine, fields, flowers|
|Purple||The night sky, caves|