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Our Colorful Life

Driving around Florida, it is so pleasant to see how many homes and businesses are flying the American Flag. In addition to its beauty and meaning, the design and colors are so beautifully placed, signifying the country we stand for.
Colors are so significant to us and the world we live in. Imagine if you looked up at the sky each day and didn’t see special arrays of white clouds with pink hues on a bed of blue. Like life, that image is ever changing and rearranging but the colors remain.

Red: The color red is commonly associated with danger, sacrifice, passion, fire, beauty, love, anger, socialism and communism, and in China and many other cultures, with happiness.

Red was the color for the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and the Chinese Revolution of 1949. Later, it was the color of the Cultural Revolution. Red was also the color for Communist Parties from Eastern Europe to Cuba and Vietnam.

In the early 20th century, the German chemical industry invented two new synthetic red pigments; cadmium red, the color of natural vermilion, and mars red, a synthetic red ochre, the color of the very first natural red pigment.

White: White is the color of snow, cumulus clouds, sandy beaches, and milk. It is the color of light that contains all of the wavelengths of vision without absorption.

We know white as an emblem of purity. It is also a clean canvas that has not yet been touched by the paint brush. White light is what many claim to see when they come close to the end of life… a symbol of a pure life to come.

Blue: Blue became the color that denotes depression, The word blues is short for blue devils, a phrase used often at the turn of the century to describe sadness.

The Blues is one of the oldest styles of music, coming from folk music. The term blues is used for notes frequently used in music called the blue notes. Blue notes are played at a pitch lower than the major scale and are always used to give a song a haunting, melancholy tone.

Blue Skies and Blue Christmas are beautiful songs that fit the description but somehow bring a consoling feeling of happiness in the middle of the ‘blues.’

Yellow: Yellow is the color used to describe poorly researched and boldly presented news. The phrase yellow journalism was first used in the late 1900s for unsubstantiated news and eye-catching headlines designed to create readership.

During the days when Joseph Pulitzer II and William Randolph Hearst were battling for the #1 position in New York newspapers, they sensationalized the news, thinking it would sell more newspapers.

The phrase likely began when, in addition to their dramatic news stories, Pulitzer added a cartoon called The Yellow Kid.
Green: We think of green as coming from an Irish street ballad The Wearing Of The Green, in reference to the repression of supporters of the Irish Rebellion of 1798. It is noted that the shamrock was worn in place of green clothing to avoid reprisal.
Some say that after America’s revolution, the Irish thought it was time for their expression of independence and made the wearing of the green synonymous with Saint Patrick’s day. Saint Patrick was said to explain how there are three manifestations of one God, (the holy trinity) to the Irish. He saw a shamrock growing nearby and picked it out of the ground.

Many stories accompany the green color and are often interpreted by Americans simply as the wearing of green clothes on Saint Patrick’s day.

Black: For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why the day after Thanksgiving became known as Black Friday so I checked it out and learned that it was originally called Black Friday because so many people went out to shop that it caused traffic accidents and sometimes even violence.

First recorded in 1966 by Earl Apfelbaum, a dealer in rare stamps, he said Black Friday is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day.

Not a term of endearment to them. Black Friday officially opens the Christmas shopping season and usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as stores are mobbed from opening to closing. The Police Department coined the phrase to describe the mayhem surrounding the congestion of pedestrian and auto traffic in the Center City.

Retailers wanted to make the name Black Friday mean something positive because the day after Thanksgiving is always very profitable to them. To compensate, they decided to follow the old adage, “If you can’t beat em, join ’em.” They used the name to reflect their success.


Kitty Maiden is a staff writer for Seniors Today.