Color of the month: yellow – meaning and symbolism

Color of the month: yellow – meaning and symbolism

Positive associations: 

sunshine, hope, happiness, freshness, positivity, clarity, energy, optimism, cheerfulness, enthusiasm, fun, enlightenment, remembrance, intellect, honor, loyalty, good-humored, confidence, originality, creativity, challenging, academic and analytical, wisdom and logic

Negative associations: 

caution, sickness, jealousy, being critical and judgmental, overly analytical, impatient and impulsive, egotistical, pessimistic, having an inferiority complex, spiteful, cowardly, deceitful, non-emotional and lacking compassion


China: colors corresponded with the five primary elements, the directions, and the four seasons. Yellow was associated with earth and the center (in relation to direction). The Chinese have placed a predominance upon the color yellow not seen elsewhere in the world. It was the color of emperors during both the Ming dynasty and the Qing dynasty. Huangdi, also known as the Yellow Emperor, is thought to be the founder of Chinese civilization, due to the tremendous amount of inventions that took place during his reign.

India: yellow is the color of the Vaisya caste, or farmers, and is the color Hindus wear to celebrate the Festival of Spring.

France: the doors of traitors and criminals were painted yellow.

Japan: during the 1357 “War of Dynasty,” warriors wore a yellow chrysanthemum as a pledge of courage.

Aztec: yellow symbolized food because it was the color of corn, the primary food of the Aztec people.


Christianity: as the color of light, yellow may be used to represent divinity in Christian art. However, because yellow light is not pure white, it may also be used to symbolize corruption and degradation.

Buddhism: yellow has the highest symbolic value in Buddhism through its link with the saffron robes of monks. This color, previously worn by criminals, was chosen by Gautama Buddha as a symbol of his humility and separation from materialist society. Saffron yellow thus signifies renunciation, desirelessness, and humility. It is the color of earth, thus a symbol of rootedness and the equanimity of the earth.

Hinduism: yellow (saffron) is the most sacred color for the Hindu. It represents fire and as impurities are burnt by fire, this color symbolizes purity. It also represents religious abstinence. This color connotation has a sacred meaning for the Hindu. It is the color of holy men and ascetics who have renounced the world. Wearing the color symbolizes the quest for light. It is the battle color of the Rajputs, the warrior caste.

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