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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Red Letter Day

RED cherry tomatoes my mother grew in Tasmania,
Australia. They were as delicious as they look!
A "red letter day", in earlier times, referred to a church festival or saint's day; more recently it refers to any special day. The saying derives from the practice of marking the dates of church festivals on calendars in red.

Colors often have different meanings in various cultures. As a psychologist and an artist/designer I have always been interested in the psychology of color, (or 'colour' as it is spelled back home in Australia, and other countries). Color is something I am constantly thinking about as it relates to the world of arts and crafts.

Considered the most emotionally intense color, red stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing. It is also the color associated with love, passion and romance. A new study, published this year in the American Psychological Association's journal 'Emotion', finds that when humans see the color red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful. And people are unaware of the color's intensifying effect.

Here are just a few interesting notes about the color red.

  • In Greece, Easter eggs are dyed red as a representation of life and the blood of Christ. The Greek have a custom of marking the heads and backs of small lambs with red dye to protect them. The Greek expression "piase kokkino" means 'touch re'd and is said when two people say the same thing at the same time. Superstition claims that such an occurrence is an omen that the two will soon have an argument, which can only be broken if they both touch the closest red item.

  • Cochineal red, discovered by the Aztecs, was derived from the cochineal beetle. A great many insects must be processed to produce any useful amount of the highly prized red dye extract. It requires about 70,000 or more dried cochineal insects to produce just one pound of dye. For the Aztecs, Indian red dye was considered more valuable than gold! However, it was the Spaniards who introduced the crimson color of Cochineal red to Europe in the 1500s. Cochineal dyes although natural do have contraindications; some people have had allergic reactions to this colorant which is labeled as E120 on the products ingredients.

  • Visible light waves are the only electromagnetic waves we can see. We see these waves as the colors of the rainbow. Each color has a different wavelength. Red has the longest wavelength and violet has the shortest wavelength. When all the waves are seen together, they make white light. Red is at the highest arc of the rainbow.

  • Feng shui recommends painting the front door of a home red to invite prosperity to the residents.

  • In Chinese and other East Asian societies red envelopes are generally given at social and family gatherings such as weddings or on holidays such as the Lunar New Year. The red color of the envelope symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits. It is believed that this red envelope will bring good luck to the person who receives it and to the person who gives it.

  • Bees can't see the color red, but they can see all other bright colors. Red flowers are usually pollinated by birds, butterflies, bats, and wind, rather than bees.

“Of all the hues, reds have the most potency. If there is one electric blue, a dozen reds are so charged. Use them to punctuate white, burn into bronzes, or dynamite black." -- Jack Lenor Larsen
Want to see some of the beautiful reds in the world? Visit Life in Color: Red Photos at National Geographic.
Perhaps the color red will inspire your next work of art!

I hope you have a, red letter day!


thanks for all th information. I enjoyed reading all the information about the color red.

I found you from the etsy build your blog team. Congrats on your victory over cancer!

May you have a red letter day too!

Love this post. I love red. It pops against the black I usually adorn myself with and it's a color you definitely have a reaction to no matter who you are.

Just started following you.

check out my blog when you get a chance.


Great post! I love working with red materials, but have such a hard time deciding what to do with them. I'd rather pile them up on a table and just admire them :)

Found you through the etsy "build your blog" team, and I'm following you now (plus, love that rainbow unicorn logo!)


Thank you for the comments, ladies. I have successfully found, and subscribed to your blogs also!

Best wishes!!


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