Purple is a blend of red and blue that symbolizes regal elegance and deep spirituality. It’s the color of imagination, creativity, and compassion.
Purple and Royalty
Purple’s association with royalty dates back to ancient civilizations, when in ancient Rome, only the emperor and high-ranking officials wore it. Imperial purple, or Tyrian purple, became synonymous with status, wealth, and power.
In medieval Europe, kings, queens, and members of the high social class wore purple. The connection between purple and nobility solidifies its association with royalty.
Purple and Religious Significance
In Christianity, purple is associated with Advent and Lent — periods of atonement and preparation leading up to Christmas and Easter. During these periods, priests wore purple vestments to symbolize repentance, humility, and reflection.
In Buddhism, purple represents spiritual awakening and inner transformation, symbolizing enlightenment and the merging of earthly and spiritual realms.
In Hinduism, purple is associated with the crown chakra, Sahasrar. It’s the seventh primary chakra in Hindu tradition. The crown chakra is believed to be the source of spiritual wisdom. It’s also considered the energy point that connects an individual with the divine.
The Psychology of the Color Purple
Purple elicits emotional feelings of royalty, extravagance, and luxury. In contrast, lighter shades of purple, such as lavender, instill a sense of relaxation and tranquility.
For instance, decorating meditation spaces with purple accents creates a calming and soothing effect.
Creativity and Imagination
Purple inspires creativity while sparking imagination. It evokes feelings of introspection, spiritual reflection, and deep thought. Purple accents in spaces such as art studios stimulate imagination and innovative thinking.
Serenity and Calm
Purple’s calming effect on the mind promotes feelings of serenity and peace. Its soothing nature is suitable for relaxation spaces such as the living room. For instance, a yoga room with purple walls creates an atmosphere that fosters inner peace and mental clarity.
Shades and Tints of Purple
The various shades of purple evoke a multitude of emotions and associations.
- Lavender: The soft, pale shade of purple is reminiscent of the fragrant lavender flowers. Lavender evokes feelings of tranquility, freshness, and serenity.
- Lilac: Lilac is a gentle, pale purple hue with a faint pink touch, giving it a delicate appearance. Named after the lilac flower, the hue evokes the elegance of springtime blossoms. It also conveys a calming, soft impression.
- Mauve: The muted shade of purple has subtle gray undertones. It’s often associated with beauty and refinement, making the hue popular in fashion and interior design.
- Blue Violet: Blue Violet is a vibrant purple shade with a solid blue undertone. The striking hue captures the depth of violet flowers. It represents creativity, inspiration, and individuality.
- Plum: The rich, dark shade of purple has a hint of red, resembling the color of ripe plums. The hue exudes luxury and sophistication, making it a popular choice for high-end fashion.
Purple in Cultural Contexts
Popular Culture and Media
Purple appears in various art forms, such as music, literature, and painting. It’s also prominent in fashion, where designs use shades of purple to create imposing garments.
In film and television, purple often signifies characters or settings with depth and richness. The famous “Purple Rain” by Prince is a notable example of the color’s impact on pop culture.
Politics and National Identity
In some cases, purple represents a blend of opposing political ideologies. In the United States, it symbolizes a mix of the traditional “red” for Republicans and “blue” for Democrats.
The terms “purple state” or “purple county” indicate regions where the electorate splits between two parties. In flags or other country symbols, purple represents a sense of heritage and pride.
Common Expressions Featuring the Color Purple
- Purple prose: Refers to ornate writing that’s excessive in its use of adjectives and metaphors.
- Born to the purple: Describes someone born into a noble family, often associated with royalty.
- Purple patch: A period of outstanding success, high achievement, or good fortune.
- The purple dollar: Indicates the spending power and economic influence of the LGBTQ+ community.
- Purple Heart: A United States military decoration awarded to those wounded or killed in active service.
- Born to be purple: Someone naturally inclined to intuition, creativity, and spirituality. It also refers to someone with a natural affinity for purple.
- Purple cow: The expression describes something that stands out from the crowd, often in the context of marketing.