The Color Green

Depending upon what part of the world you call home, the color green has many different meanings. For example, the Irish consider green to be their national color. There's nothing quite like the "luck of the Irish" and green four-leaf clovers. Traditionally, green was once considered a restricted or forbidden color in parts of Indonesia. A Chinese man who wears a green hat is telling the entire world, or at least his neighbors, that his wife has been cheating on him. Residents of the Middle East consider green to be a lucky color and the holiest color of the Islamic religion. South Americans think of the dangers of the jungles and death when they think of green. In India, however, new beginnings and a fruitful harvest are attributed to the same color, and some Eastern countries value green as the symbol for eternity, prosperity, peace and good health.

Historically, green was the symbol of fertility and worn by brides during the Middle Ages. Even earlier, it was the popular eye shadow for lovely Egyptian women. Green jade has long been known as the sacred stone of Asia.

In America, we too have attached a variety of meanings to this color. If you are a "greenhorn," you are inexperienced, and if you are "green with envy," you are jealous. On the other hand, if you have a "green thumb," you are really successful at growing plants in your home or garden. Then, of course, there's the "greenback," our expression for paper money. "Green rooms" are the places where TV guests and performers wait for their turn on camera. The color is supposed to be calming. Darker shades of green are considered more masculine and conservative.

Currently, designers are choosing green as the most popular decorating color because of the positive associations related to good health, relaxation, balance and refreshing. Some hospitals and mental health facilities are purposefully adding green to their interior paint scheme for this very reason. It seems that green is just easier on the eyes. For this reason, educators have had some success with using green filters over the reading materials for some of their struggling students.

Probably most Americans and much of the world are also familiar with the concept of "green technology" and "going green." These expressions have their roots in the environmentalist movement in this country. While there have always been those voices such as Thoreau, who have reminded us of the beauty of nature and the green world around us, more recently, progressive companies have also begun identifying themselves as green, the color of healthy growth, change and transformation. Green aptly represents the ability to embrace and sustain changes that improve our world through technology and ecological awareness.

Businesses aren't the only ones "going green." Many Americans are also beginning to choose organic foods, including green vegetables, which they grow in their own home gardens. Driving a hybrid, recycling trash, improving health habits, and conserving energy and natural resources are all included in the broader concept of becoming a more responsible resident of planet earth. From this perspective, green is definitely a positive color for the future of this country and the rest of the planet as well.