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Practice Coloring – Colors in the Traditional Culture of Ethnic Groups

In each ethnic group and each different country, colors carry different meanings. Colors symbolize holidays and personality traits and are even used to distinguish social classes. So, what does each color mean in each country, and why is this critical for practice coloring? Let’s explore this together  and practice coloring!

I – The importance of color

Color is a significant factor, playing a dominant role in conveying messages, creating emotions, and creating memorable user interactions. Color is not merely a decorative element; it can create attraction, establish a unique style, and express the individual personality of each work.

Each color carries its own meaning and psychological impact. For example, red is often associated with passion, power, or strong emotions; blue creates peace, trust, and stability, while yellow is often associated with wealth, brightness, and cheerfulness.

Designers can shape viewers’ perceptions and convey meanings more effectively when using these colors intelligently and appropriately.

Color is also essential to visually separate and differentiate different design elements. Thanks to the contrast and harmonious combination of colors, designers can highlight important details, enhance their ability to convey messages and make the design more attractive.

It impacts emotions and vision, and color creates easy interaction and engagement with users. Because color grabs users’ attention and stimulates their curiosity when interacting with apps, websites, or graphic products, it is crucial to interface design and user experience.

Related topic: Mastering The Art Of Coloring – Your Ultimate 2024 Coloring Tips

II – Cultural coloring traditions

The meanings and ideas about color vary among countries, territories, and populations. We need to focus on exploring how cultural factors influence the use of color in art and how to exploit them wisely.

For example: 

Red is the most common color and has the most meaning in traditional cultures. According to Eastern beliefs, red is a lucky color, bringing wealth and happiness, and is often used in festivals and weddings,…

In traditional Indian culture, red carries many other important meanings, such as pure soul, love, beauty, and power. 

However, in many countries around the world, people consider it an unlucky color; even South Africans regard it as the color of death.

III – Coloring across different societies

One aspect of a work that can have a profound and sometimes unintentional impact on the reader is color. Colors have different associations, even within North American culture. They can have different meanings for viewers in Japan or the Middle East, where color meanings are often more specific and clearly defined.

Understanding color can be difficult, and many color meanings seem almost contradictory – especially in the West, where color meanings are extensive. 

Let’s consider the primary colors and the meanings that people from different cultures might infer from them.

Colors By Culture 

  • Red Color

Western Civilization (Europe and North America) Excitation and passion are embodied in red. It has connotations of danger, love, and excitement as well as negative ones; when connected to the former Eastern Bloc, it symbolizes communism. When combined with green to represent Christmas, red is also connected to power and has some religious connotations. The diverse and varied associations of the West with color combine different meanings from different cultures.

In Eastern and Asian cultures, red is associated with joy, happiness, and festivities. Bridal wearers wear this color on their wedding day because it is associated with good fortune, longevity, and happiness. It is also the color commonly associated with Chinese restaurants in the US, as it is linked with luck and happiness. Specifically, in India, the color is associated with purity; in Japan, it is associated with life but also means anger or danger.

Latin American Culture In Mexico and some other Latin American countries, red is a religious color when used with white.

Middle Eastern Red evokes a sense of danger and caution. Some people even consider it the color of evil.

Worldwide, red is worn to celebrate the Chinese New Year and to bring luck and prosperity.

  • Orange Color

Western Culture (North America and Europe) The colors of autumn and harvest are orange. For instance, in the United States, the color represents fall beginning in September with the start of the academic year and continuing through Halloween and Thanksgiving in late November. Citrus fruits and warmth are also linked to it. In the Netherlands, where it is considered the national color, orange is most frequently linked to royalty.

Eastern and Asian Culture: The color, especially turmeric (a slightly yellowish orange appropriate to the plant’s color) is sacred in Indian culture. In Japan, the orange hue symbolizes courage and love.

Latin American Culture Because of the reddish-orange hue of the soil, some countries associate orange with the earth, even though orange is thought to represent the sun.

Middle Eastern: Orange is associated with mourning and loss.

Worldwide, this color can also be associated with religion: It is the color of gluttony in Christianity.

  • Yellow Color

Western Cultures (North America and Europe): The cheerful bright nature of yellow is the primary meaning in most Western countries. It is connected to summer, hospitality, and warmth (the sun). Specifically, in the US, the color is associated with traffic – taxis and school buses are yellow and many different types of street signs. For example, tea manufacturer Lipton uses yellow to market worldwide, but there will be changes in the colors people wear on advertising materials if you switch between websites targeting different countries. In Germany, yellow is associated with jealousy (described as green in most other Western cultures).

Eastern and Asian Cultures: Members of the ruling royal class often wear this color, which is considered sacred and royal. In Japan, that definition is extended to include courage (expected of rulers) and is the color of commerce in India.

Latin American Culture: Yellow is associated with death and mourning in many Latin cultures.

Middle East: Although in Egypt, yellow is most associated with mourning (like in Latin American countries), it is more widely associated with happiness and prosperity in the Middle East. The association with yellow is closely related to Western culture.

Worldwide: In many African countries, only those of high social status can wear yellow clothes. More variations of yellow are increasingly associated with money, quality, and success in most cultures worldwide.

Colors By Religion 

  • Blue Color

Western Cultures (North America and Europe) The most common color for bank logos is sky blue, symbolizing trust and power. This color also carries a masculine trait and is used to indicate the birth of a baby boy. Blue is also considered to bring a sense of calm, gentleness, and peace, although it can also be associated with depression or sadness.

Eastern and Asian Cultures The color has long been associated with immortality. In Indian culture, sky blue is the color of Krishna – the central figure of Hinduism and one of the most famous Hindu gods. Many Indian sports teams use this color as a symbol of strength. Unlike in the US, where blue is associated with males, it is considered feminine in China.

Latin American Culture Due to the high Catholic population in Central and South America, sky blue is often associated with religion, such as the color of the cloak or headscarf of the Virgin Mary. Moreover, sky blue can evoke strong emotions related to mourning. It is also the color of trust and tranquility in Mexico and soap in Colombia.

Middle Eastern Blue is safe and protected. It is the color linked to spirituality, heaven, and eternal life.

Worldwide In Thailand, Friday is symbolized by the color blue. Blue is often considered the most positive and safe color for a global audience. Skype, an international web-based phone company, uses a shade of sky blue for each of its websites worldwide.

  • Green Color

Western Cultures (North America and Europe) Green is the color of the Irish (think of St. Patrick’s Day and it is also the national color of Ireland) and symbolizes luck in most Western countries. Green also refers to nature, the environment, and the protection of environmental causes, such as “green business” or “green household cleaners”. Green is also associated with Christmas when used in combination with red. It also symbolizes progress – green means “go” – but can symbolize jealousy.

Eastern and Asian Cultures In most of the East, green represents the natural world and fresh life. It also represents fertility and youth. Green, on the other hand, is connected to adultery and exorcism; wearing a green hat is bound to lying to your spouse in China. These are just a few of the unfavorable connotations of this color.

Green is the color of death in many cultures in Latin America and South America.

Middle East For most Middle Eastern people, Islam is the closest association with green. It represents strength, fertility, luck, and wealth.

Worldwide In the United States, green is the color of money and is often associated with jealousy. Green, outwardly appearing as olive green, is the color of most active militaries worldwide.

  • Purple Color

Western Culture (North America and Europe) Purple, the color of royalty, is commonly used in modern movies for the robes and capes of kings and queens. It is connected to status and prosperity. It is also a symbol of modernism and progress. Specifically, in the United States, it is the color of honor; the highest military award is the Purple Heart.

Eastern and Asian Culture Purple is also the color of wealth and nobility in the East. The exception is in Thailand, where purple symbolizes mourning, where a widow wears this color after the death of her husband.

Latin American Culture The theme of sadness is also clearly expressed in South American countries like Brazil, where purple is associated with mourning and death.

Middle East Wealth and purple are synonymous in the Middle East. In Egypt, the definition of purple also includes virtue.

Worldwide A lighter color, amethyst, is considered sacred to Buddha and prayer beads are often made from this purple stone in Tibet.

  • White Color

Western Culture (North America and Europe) White is the color of purity and peace. It is often associated with weddings and is the most common color brides wear. White is also clean and sterile, symbolizing hospitals and even sanctity. However, in Italy, white is used in funerals; traditionally, white daisies are placed at graves.

Eastern and Asian Culture: White is also the color of death in the East. It is used in funerals and symbolizes sterility, mourning, misfortune, and unhappiness.

Latin American Culture White skin is similar to North America and is associated with purity and peace.

Middle East: Both purity and mourning are associated with white. For example, in Iran, the definition extends to sanctity and peace; in Egypt, wearing white clothes symbolizes a person’s high status.

Worldwide, A white flag is a universal symbol of a ceasefire.

IV – Practice coloring when understanding the symbolism in color

You have understood the symbolism in color and how to use them to express culture, emotions, and your creativity. Now, if you want to practice coloring skills with simple yet exciting pictures,. Then you can refer to the coloring pictures we prepared for you. Let us investigate and savor the delight of coloring! 


What does color mean in traditional cultures?

In each ethnic group and each different country, colors carry different meanings. Colors symbolize holidays and personality traits and are even used to distinguish social classes.

Why is understanding color and culture important when practicing coloring?

Understanding color and culture makes coloring more profound and rich, and helps the colorist understand the emotions and messages conveyed through color. However, if you are a non-professional, you do not need to constrain yourself too much, feel free to indulge your passion and unleash your creativity and express your personality through your drawings!

How do apply knowledge of color and culture to daily coloring?

First, look up the cultural connotations of various colors, then use that information to color in your images.

The blog has introduced you to cultural coloring traditions, coloring across different societies, symbolism in color, and pictures for practice coloring. You have learned the necessary knowledge and skills to create images that express your personality and self through color. However, the blog also has limitations, such as not mentioning coloring styles, tips, common mistakes when coloring, etc. Therefore, in the future, you can explore additional information sources to supplement your knowledge and experience. Explore how color and culture influence coloring and enhance your skills today!



In each ethnic group and each different country, colors carry different meanings. Colors symbolize holidays and personality traits and are… View More

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