Gold, Butter, Sunshine, Pleasure

Yellow is the color of gold, butter, or ripe lemons. In the spectrum of visible light, and in the traditional color wheel used by painters, yellow is located between green and orange. Yellow is commonly associated with gold, sunshine, reason, optimism and pleasure, but also with envy, jealousy and betrayal. It plays an important part in Asian culture, particularly in China. Yellow is the most common color of flowers; the color makes it the most visible to the insects who are needed to bring pollen to the flowers.

The word for ‘gold’ in Latin is aurum, which means yellow. (It also is the origin of the word ‘orange.’). In ancient Greece, the gods were depicted with yellow hair, and men commonly bleached their hair or spent hours in the sun to turn it yellow. However, in medieval Europe and later, the word yellow often had negative connotations; so yellow hair was more poetically called ‘blond,’ ‘light’, ‘fair,’ or especially ‘golden.’

Yellow is the color most associated with optimism and pleasure; it is a color designed to attract attention, and for amusement. Yellow dresses in fashion are rare, but always associated with gaiety and celebration. In The Roman Catholic church, yellow symbolizes gold, and the golden key to the Kingdom of Heaven, which Christ gave to Saint Peter. In Hinduism, the divinity Krishna is commonly portrayed dressed in yellow. Yellow and saffron are also the colors worn by sadhu, or wandering holy men in India. In Buddhism, 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.. Yellow has strong historical and cultural associations in China, where it is the color of happiness, glory, and wisdom.

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