Color of the month: orange – meaning and symbolism

Color of the month: orange – meaning and symbolism

Positive associations:

abundance, adventurousness, agreeable, balance, change, cheerful, creativity, determination, encouragement, enjoyment, enthusiasm, expression, extroversion, fascination, flamboyance, food, freedom, fun, happiness, health, heat, hysical comfort, independence, informality, joy, optimism, passion, warmth, risk-taking, security, self-confidence, sensuality, sexuality, sociability, stimulation, success, sunshine, uninhibitedness.

Negative associations:

danger, dependency, deprivation, exhibitionism, frustration, frivolity, immaturity, inexpensiveness, insincerity, over-bearing, pessimism, self-indulgence, superficial, unsociable.


Confucianism: orange is the color of transformation. In China and India, the color took its name not from the orange fruit, but from saffron, the finest and most expensive dye in Asia. According to Confucianism, existence was governed by the interaction of the male active principle, the yang, and the female passive principle, the yin. Yellow was the color of perfection and nobility; red was the color of happiness and power. Yellow and red were compared to light and fire, spirituality and sensuality, seemingly opposite but really complementary. Out of the interaction between the two came orange, the color of transformation.

China: colors corresponded with the five primary elements, the directions and the four seasons. Orange indicates change, adaptability, spontaneity and strengthens concentration.

India: saffron is the most sacred color. Hindu monks wear bright saffron robes, announcing their renunciation of the ego and all their worldly possessions. Resembling the color of fire, saffron conveys sanctity, purity, and sacrifice. To Sikhs, it’s also the color of joy or bliss.

Europe: having long been the national color of the Netherlands and the House of Orange- Nassau. It also serves as the political color of Christian democracy political ideology and most Christian democratic political parties.

Europe and America: orange and yellow are the colors most associated with amusement, frivolity and entertainment. In this regard, orange is the exact opposite of its complementary color, blue, the color of calm and reflection. Toulouse-Lautrec used a palette of yellow, black and orange in his posters of Paris cafes and theaters, and Henri Matisse used an orange, yellow and red palette in his painting, the Joy of Living.

Ancient Egypt: artists used an orange mineral pigment called realgar for tomb paintings, as well as other uses.


Hinduism and Buddhism: a wide variety of colors, ranging from a slightly orange yellow to a deep orange red, all simply called saffron, are closely associated with both and are commonly worn by monks and holy men across Asia.

Hinduism: the divinity Krishna is commonly portrayed dressed in yellow or yellow orange. Yellow and saffron are also the colors worn by sadhu, or wandering holy men in India.

Buddhism: orange (saffron) is the color of illumination, the highest state of perfection. The saffron colors of robes to be worn by monks were defined by the Buddha himself and his followers in the 5th century, B.C. The robe and its color is a sign of renunciation of the outside world and commitment to the order. 

According to Buddhist scriptures and commentaries, the robe dye is allowed to be obtained from six kinds of substances: roots and tubers, plants, bark, leaves, flowers and fruits. Saffron and ochre, usually made with dye from the curcuma longa plant or the heartwood of the jackfruit tree, are the most common colors. 

The color of robes varies somewhat among the different “vehicles,” or schools of Buddhism, and by country, depending on their doctrines and the dyes available. 

Christianity: orange is the symbol of endurance and strength, such as the color of fire and flame. It represents the red of passion tempered by the yellow of wisdom. It is also the symbol of the sun. 

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