What Colors Symbolize in Other Countries

Green with envy, black sheep, white lie, tickled pink. More than likely, you’ve heard of these colorful idioms. From describing emotions to reminding us of a place or time of year, there’s no denying that colors play an important part in our lives.

However, what colors symbolize in Western cultures can be completely different in other cultures. Read on to find out how colors are viewed in other parts of the world.

In Western cultures, the color red symbolizes excitement, energy, action, love, passion, and danger.

In Asian cultures, the color red is associated with good luck, celebration, happiness, and joy, and is traditionally the color brides wear on their wedding day.

In South Africa, red symbolizes mourning, and in their country’s flag, red is used to symbolize the sacrifices made during their fight for independence.

In India, red signifies purity, sensuality, and spirituality.

The color orange is what most Western cultures would associate with the autumn season, which conjures up a sense of harvest and warmth.

In Eastern cultures, orange represents love, happiness, good health, and humility.

Orange is the national color in the Netherlands and is the color of the Dutch Royal family.

Japanese and Chinese cultures use the color orange to symbolize happiness, love, courage, and good health.

In Western cultures, yellow is often associated with happiness and joy, however, in other cultures, it’s doesn’t always represent a happy ray of sunshine.

For example, in France, the color yellow represents jealousy, betrayal, and weakness.

Have you heard the expression, Monday blues? In Western cultures, the expression Monday blues is used to describe the low-spirited mood of going back to work or school. However, in Thai culture, yellow is the color for Monday and is considered lucky, and the most important shade of the week. Why? Yellow represents King Bhumibol, the King of Thailand, who has held reign since June 1946 and was born on December 5th, 1927, which was a Monday.

When you think of the color green, what’s the first thing you associate it with? In Western cultures, green signifies money, freshness, spring, envy, greed, and jealousy.

In Ireland, green is the national color. In fact, Ireland is nicknamed The Emerald Isle for its green countryside. There, the color is associated with good luck, shamrocks, and Saint Patrick.

Like Ireland, Mexico’s national color is green and is used in their flag to symbolize independence.

Blue has positive associations around the world, so it is often considered one of the safest colors to use. In both North America and Europe, blue symbolizes security, trust, peacefulness, and authority.

However, the color blue can also be associated with emotions of depression, loneliness, and sadness.

In Eastern cultures, blue is considered to be a feminine color, which is opposite of what the color represents in Western cultures. The color also represents healing and relaxation in Eastern cultures.


Understanding the meaning of different colors in different cultures can help prevent misunderstandings when expanding your business into other regions of the world.

ISI Translation Services understands the importance of colors used around the world. If you are unsure if the colors you use in your brand, logo, or etc, will translate well in other countries, talk to one of our ISI team members, and visit our service page for more information.