India is known for many things, from its diverse culture to its abundance of regional languages. A significant part of the country’s identity is colors. From spices in the Indian cuisine to the vibrant fashion landscape, colors are an unmissable aspect of India. The significance of colors in Indian culture is rooted deep in religions, but it continues to influence people’s conscious and subconscious decision-making in their everyday life. Whether it is the festival of colors – Holi – an annual Hindu festival in late February or March that celebrates the end of winter, or the Indian cuisine which is an explosion of flavors, smell and color. Lashkaraa breaks down the significance of Indian colors in a fashionable context.
Understanding the Significance of And Delving into the Meaning behind Hinduism Colors
Exalted and remembered fondly as the country of symbolic colors, India’s color-rich tapestry is unlike any other. To an outsider, the colorful culture, streets, and stories seem like a page out of an ancient folk tale. In essence, colors have been a large part of the Indian consciousness. From the deep orange marigold flowers that bejewel almost every celebration to the deep hues of red that deck up the bride on her most important day, colors of India are momentous and powerful. Similarly, colors in Indian fashion are just as symbolic. Each one has a distinct connection with symbolism and has its own connotations and outside concepts connected to it. This invokes feeling and meaning into each color we see.
The color saffron or kesariya, for instance, is associated with purity and spirituality and is often used in religious ceremonies too. White (Safed) symbolizes purity, peace, and spirituality. On the contrary, it also signifies the absence of color and is the only color widows are allowed to wear. It is the acceptable color at funerals and ceremonies that mark death in the family. It reflects the essential quality of the color itself, in principle; white, as a color, repels all light and colors and therefore, when a widow wears white, she disconnects herself from the pleasures and luxuries of active and regular participation in society and life around her. Contrary to white, red is considered the color of passion, love, and fertility and is commonly worn by brides during weddings. While some believe it represents good luck, in the southern half of India it is associated with violence and disruption.
In fashion, the color black is considered classic, timeless and a hue that you can pick for almost any evening affair. Many fashion enthusiasts in the west keep a black only wardrobe because of the color’s versatility. The Black Embroidered Velvet Lehenga is one of our favorite black pieces. In Indian fashion, black is often considered the ideal evening color for guests such as a black Anarkali or saree for a sangeet or cocktail party. Other shades that signify different meanings would be:
Green (Hara) represents life, happiness, and prosperity and is associated with nature. Blue (Neela) that is recognised with the divine and is often used to represent gods and goddesses. Yellow (Peela) which is associated with knowledge, learning, and intellect is considered auspicious, just as the color gold (Sona) is. These colors, in addition to many other shades, are not only seen in clothing but also in the vibrant decorations during festivals, religious ceremonies, and various cultural events. The use of colors in India is deeply rooted in cultural and religious symbolism, and each color carries a specific meaning and significance.
Interpreting the Color of Death in Indian Culture
In Indian culture, the interpretation of the color associated with death can vary across different regions and communities. Unlike in Western cultures where black is often associated with mourning, the color associated with death in India is generally white.
White (Safed) is a symbol of purity and is the funeral attire in many Indian cultures, particularly Hindu traditions. It is associated with the end of the life cycle, and it is believed to symbolize the departure of the soul from the physical body. During the mourning period, family members may wear white or simple attire during a mourning period. However, it’s important to note that while white is commonly associated with mourning and funerals, the interpretations of colors can vary among different communities and religions within India. Additionally, the customs and practices related to mourning and death can differ. In some communities, other subdued colors may also be considered appropriate for mourning attire.
Furthermore, in some regions, especially in South India, people might wear white or light-colored clothes during auspicious occasions and festivals, as white is also considered a symbol of purity and positivity. Therefore, the cultural significance of colors can be diverse, and the interpretation may depend on the specific cultural and religious context.
Colors of Royalty: Defining Power and Prestige in India
Some of the glaring differences between the perception of color in the West and the East are due to the simplest elements in history. Royalty, in the West and the Christian culture, is represented by a deep, mystical shade of purple, while in India, it is the deep hues of red and ochre that symbolize wealth and grandeur.
A symbol of authority, deep red and maroon are often associated with power like our Red and Maroon Embroidered Sharara Suit. Frequently worn by leaders and those in positions of influence, red is often the color of choice, worn to convey a sense of command and dominance. In some cultures, red is seen as a symbol of prosperity and wealth too. The bold and vibrant nature of the color can be linked to opulence and abundance. In certain traditions, red is a symbol of good luck, fortune, and celebration. As a result, red is often the bridal color and is worn in ceremonies, festivals, and important life events. A classic and traditional Indian bridal outfit features a red bridal lehenga, owing to the auspiciousness, love, and marital bliss that she’s about to enter. Red has also been a popular color for royal garments and regal attire. Kings, queens, and other members of the nobility historically wore red to signify their elevated status.
It's important to note that the symbolism of colors can vary across different cultures and regions. While red is commonly associated with royalty and power, the specific cultural meanings attached to the color can differ. Additionally, the interpretation of colors is subjective and may evolve over time. Similar to red, violet is a color often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, extravagance, dignity, devotion, decadence, pride, mystery, and independence. A mix of blue and red, its associated with mystery and has also made it a symbol for mysterious topics, such as magic and secrets.
Color symbolism in India, especially dedicated to the Indian styling needs and sensibilities, is deep rooted in the psyche of each Indian. Each color is associated with a meaning and a feeling is developed when you see that shade. To shop an array of colors of Indian ethnic fashion, Lashkaraa’s wide selection is where your search will end for the perfect wedding/festive look.