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Red is for romance…and much more

Posted on February 11, 2016 | Comments

Lately I have been seeing a lot of red…though not in anger.  With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, there is the annual abundance of predominantly red heart-themed cards, flowers, and decorations. Has it always been that way my curious mind wondered?  Why is red the colorful choice to convey romance, passion, and love? Not sure I can answer that but I did find some fun facts.

In the history of languages, all have a word for black and white.  If a third hue exists, it is red.  Worldwide, people identify it as one of the top two favorite colors and it is the most popular color used on flags–approximately 77% include red. Considered good luck in Asia, red is also the most popular color in China. Japanese children often draw the sun as a big red circle and a red kimono symbolizes happiness and good fortune.  Believing that it is an auspicious color, brides in India and Nepal wear red saris for their marriage ceremony.

Research has documented that red and yellow colors equate to hunger in the fast-food industry which is why McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Carl’s and many others use this proven appetizing color combination.  In the same research it was noted not to paint your kitchen yellow if you want to lose weight.

Red often gives conflicting messages.  It means “stop” when used on a street light but it means “go” in the romance department.  It means danger when used on signs and fire extinguishers yet mixed with green, gold and white it’s symbolic of Christmas.  The red stripes on the United States flag stand for courage and seeing the color red can make your heart beat faster.  If you need to make an impression, wearing red symbolizes power, decisiveness and leadership.  In home décor, red is rarely used as a base color but often as an accent.

Crayola makes 23 different red crayons and offers a list of all 120 colors on its website with production dates and formula.  Suffice it to say in this space that scarlet and vermillion are the shocking and extreme reds while pink, maroon, and crimson fall into the subtler reds.  The word “ruby” comes from the Latin word rubens, meaning “red” and in Russian, red means beautiful.

No wonder red became a primary Valentine’s Day color. It has certainly earned the right to be a symbol of love and friendship toward one another however, what matters most is actually choosing to let others know how much we care.  We can do that every day.

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