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09/25/2017

Why in India people don't wear black?

India,colours,black,white,red,orange,blue,religion,spirituality,Holi,Navratri,Durga,colour code,red dot on the forehead

India,colours,black,white,red,orange,blue,religion,spirituality,Holi,Navratri,Durga,colour code,red dot on the foreheadIn India, colors are waltzing, everywhere, all the time. No need to wait for Holi, the festival where everyone throws colored powders and bombs to water at each other, to see red, yellow, purple, pink shimmering under the almost-daily sun. Indians wear colours on them, and it looks good. Especially Indian women.

But why so many rainbows and no black? Is it because they see life in pink? Or because black attracts the sun's rays? If that was the reason, would it mean that Muslim women in desertic countries wearing dark colour niqabs or burqas are masochists? India,colours,black,white,red,orange,blue,religion,spirituality,Holi,Navratri,Durga,colour code,red dot on the foreheadApparently, according to the Koran, black is not compulsory, whatever women cover themselves with must just be ugly, or at least it should be dull enough to not attract the (lusty) gaze of men –  so much in European countries, where they get stared at for the same purpose of wearing a niqab or even just a hijab! So why do they chose black for this type of clothing? According to some, under a dark garment, as this color absorbs heat, it is so hot that you sweat, which in turn cools you down; It’s by the way the same explanation for the drinking of hot tea in burning countries. In India, the theory for tea was adopted, but not for wearing black.

India,colours,black,white,red,orange,blue,religion,spirituality,Holi,Navratri,Durga,colour code,red dot on the foreheadBut why? Why is black colour has a negative connotation in spirituality and superstition (1)? Would it simply because it attracts mosquitoes, according to the popular belief – or at least to the belief of my nanny and my neighbor? CNN says it’s a myth. But the expert, in the interview, also says that what attracts mosquitoes is the carbon dioxide emitted by the body and the body heat. It goes in the sense of Muslim theories: we sweat more under a dark garment, and therefore the skin produces more carbon dioxide; and more definitely more heat since black absorbs it from the sun. So maybe it’s not completely a myth. And myth or not myth, I have noticed that mosquitoes prefer to rest on the dark things (door, bed, mirror) rather than on my white walls - and I have always thought they were shrewd enough to master camouflage techniques! (PS: did you know? Mosquitoes feed on plant nectar and don’t need blood as food but as a protein intake related to reproduction; vampires are all females!)

India,colours,black,white,red,orange,blue,religion,spirituality,Holi,Navratri,Durga,colour code,red dot on the forehead(1) Black is the color of evil, negativity and inertia; It symbolizes anger, darkness and is associated with the lack of energy, death though it is not the color of mourning. As a representation of evil, it is also used to combat the latter – take the form of the enemy to defeat him – as can be seen in the black dot applied on the face of infants to keep the dark evil eye at bay.

White is the absence of color; It’s the ‘non-color' worn at funerals and by widows throughout the rest of their lives, as a sign of renouncing all the pleasures/colors of life.

Red symbolizes violence, the fire that burns and therefore also the purity – in India fire has purifying virtues. It is also the color for the bride’s sari. Red also has connotations of sensuality, fertility and prosperity. Women wear a red dot on the forehead (see more about tilak, sindoor and bindi here). Favorite chilis are red. The super fertile earth is red in some areas. Orange or saffron, is the real color of fire and purity; When it is worn, it indicates its bearer has renunced the world and is in a quest for the sacred.

The yellow of the turmeric symbolizes holiness, blue is associated with the god Krishna, green represents renewal and joy. If you dig a little more, each color is associated with a certain God or goddess and represents its main qualities.

During the Holi festival: the pigments they throw at one another have very specific meanings: green for harmony, orange for optimism, blue for vitality and red for joy and love” (source: Wikipedia).

Another example is the color dress code to be observed during Navratri (from 21 to 29 September this year). Each of the 9 days of the festival is dedicated to one of the forms of the goddess Durga.

  • Day 1 - Pratipada, goddess as ‘daughter of the mountains’ and consort of Shiva – Red for action and strength
  • Day 2 - Brahmacharini, dispenser of happiness and prosperity – royal Blue for a quiet but powerful energy
  • Day 3 - Chandraghanta, the goddess with a half moon on the forehead represents the beauty and the courage of the one fighting against the demons – Yellow, color that warms the heart
  • Day 4 - Kushmanda, who created the universe covered with green vegetation – Green
  • Day 5 - Skand Mata, who holds the infant Karthik in her arms – Gray for the vulnerability of the mother (who can turn into storm clouds to protect her little)
  • Day 6 - Katyayani, when she was reborn as the daughter of the sage Kata as per his wish – Orange for courage
  • Day 7 - Kalratri, black as night and very angry – White as her garment, and for peace and prayer
  • Day 8 - The goddess is dressed in pink and destroys all sins of all times – Pink for a fresh start and renewal
  • Day 9 - Siddhidatri with supernatural powers of healing – light Blue, like the cloudless sky

India,colours,black,white,red,orange,blue,religion,spirituality,Holi,Navratri,Durga,colour code,red dot on the forehead

Sources: http://www.sensationalcolor.com/color-meaning/color-around-the-world/India-country-symbolic-colors-1935#.WB-kCMbYXIU ; https://www.theindusparent.com/significance-of-colours-in...

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/why-some-people-are-mosqui... ; http://Edition.CNN.com/2014/07/04/health/mosquito-bites-m...

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