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MAGAZINE : Personality

When Colours Contradict Themselves
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Different symbols for different people

A colour can express different symbols depending on the place where it is being used, but at the same time, a more or less identical meaning is retained. In Japan, red drives away demons (the Shinto temple portals and many individual houses bear this color); while in Wales, a small red flame is supposed to protect one from illness. In Egypt, the mere representation of red evokes evil and destruction. Moreover, the scribes at the time of the pharaohs already used red to inscribe bad omens. On the other hand, until the 19th century, red was the official colour for the bride in groom in the English and German countryside.

Red was the colour of the god Mars in Ancient Rome, thereby personifying strength, power and splendor. In Greece, it was the symbol of virginity and innocence, whereas in several African countries like Mali and Nigeria, red was reserved for the fathers. From one country to another, regardless of their distinctive symbol, colours have a particular meaning, made up by the history of mankind. This is one more reason for us to think that we are under the subtle but constant influence of colours in our daily lives.

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