Green is the color between blue and yellow on the visible spectrum. It is evoked by light which has a dominant wavelength of roughly 495–570 nm. In subtractive color systems, used in painting and color printing, it is created by a combination of yellow and blue, or yellow and cyan; in the RGB color model, used on television and computer screens, it is one of the additive primary colors, along with red and blue, which are mixed in different combinations to create all other colors. By far the largest contributor to green in nature is chlorophyll, the chemical by which plants photosynthesize and convert sunlight into chemical energy. Many creatures have adapted to their green environments by taking on a green hue themselves as camouflage. Several minerals have a green color, including the emerald, which is colored green by its chromium content.
During post-classical and early modern Europe, green was the color commonly associated with wealth, merchants, bankers and the gentry, while red was reserved for the nobility. For this reason, the costume of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and the benches in the British House of Commons are green while those in the House of Lords are red. It also has a long historical tradition as the color of Ireland and of Gaelic culture. It is the historic color of Islam, representing the lush vegetation of Paradise. It was the color of the banner of Muhammad, and is found in the flags of nearly all Islamic countries.
In surveys made in American, European, and Islamic countries, green is the color most commonly associated with nature, life, health, youth, spring, hope and envy. In the European Union and the United States, green is also sometimes associated with toxicity and poor health, but in China and most of Asia, its associations are very positive, as the symbol of fertility and happiness. Because of its association with nature, it is the color of the environmental movement. Political groups advocating environmental protection and social justice describe themselves as part of the Green movement, some naming themselves Green parties. This has led to similar campaigns in advertising, as companies have sold green, or environmentally friendly, products. Green is also the traditional color of safety and permission; a green light means go ahead, a green card permits permanent residence in the United States.
Symbolism and associations
Safety and permission
Green can communicate safety to proceed, as in traffic lights. Green and red were standardized as the colors of international railroad signals in the 19th century. The first traffic light, using green and red gas lamps, was erected in 1868 in front of the Houses of Parliament in London. It exploded the following year, injuring the policeman who operated it. In 1912, the first modern electric traffic lights were put up in Salt Lake City, Utah. Red was chosen largely because of its high visibility, and its association with danger, while green was chosen largely because it could not be mistaken for red. Today green lights universally signal that a system is turned on and working as it should. In many video games, green signifies both health and completed objectives, opposite red.
Nature, vivacity, and life
Green is the color most commonly associated in Europe and the U.S. with nature, vivacity and life. It is the color of many environmental organizations, such as Greenpeace, and of the Green Parties in Europe. Many cities have designated a garden or park as a green space, and use green trash bins and containers. A green cross is commonly used to designate pharmacies in Europe.
In China, green is associated with the east, with sunrise, and with life and growth. In Thailand, the color green is considered auspicious for those born on a Wednesday day (light green for those born at night).
Springtime, freshness, and hope
Green is the color most commonly associated in the U.S. and Europe with springtime, freshness, and hope. Green is often used to symbolize rebirth and renewal and immortality. In Ancient Egypt; the god Osiris, king of the underworld, was depicted as green-skinned. Green as the color of hope is connected with the color of springtime; hope represents the faith that things will improve after a period of difficulty, like the renewal of flowers and plants after the winter season.
Youth and inexperience
Green the color most commonly associated in Europe and the U.S. with youth. It also often is used to describe anyone young, inexperienced, probably by the analogy to immature and unripe fruit. Examples include green cheese, a term for a fresh, unaged cheese, and greenhorn, an inexperienced person.
Calm, tolerance, and the agreeable
Surveys also show that green is the color most associated with the calm, the agreeable, and tolerance. Red is associated with heat, blue with cold, and green with an agreeable temperature. Red is associated with dry, blue with wet, and green, in the middle, with dampness. Red is the most active color, blue the most passive; green, in the middle, is the color of neutrality and calm, sometimes used in architecture and design for these reasons. Blue and green together symbolize harmony and balance.
Jealousy and envy
Green is often associated with jealousy and envy. The expression “green-eyed monster” was first used by William Shakespeare in Othello: “it is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.” Shakespeare also used it in the Merchant of Venice, speaking of “green-eyed jealousy.”
Love and sexuality
Green today is not commonly associated in Europe and the United States with love and sexuality, but in stories of the medieval period it sometimes represented love and the base, natural desires of man. It was the color of the serpent in the Garden of Eden who caused the downfall of Adam and Eve. However, for the troubadours, green was the color of growing love, and light green clothing was reserved for young women who were not yet married.
In Persian and Sudanese poetry, dark-skinned women, called “green” women, were considered erotic. The Chinese term for cuckold is “to wear a green hat.” This was because in ancient China, prostitutes were called “the family of the green lantern” and a prostitute’s family would wear a green headscarf.
In Victorian England, the color green was associated with homosexuality.
Dragons, fairies, monsters, and devils
In legends, folk tales and films, fairies, dragons, monsters, and the devil are often shown as green.
In the Middle Ages, the devil was usually shown as either red, black or green. Dragons were usually green, because they had the heads, claws and tails of reptiles.
Modern Chinese dragons are also often green, but unlike European dragons, they are benevolent; Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, hurricane, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck. The Emperor of China usually used the dragon as a symbol of his imperial power and strength. The dragon dance is a popular feature of Chinese festivals.
In Irish folklore and English folklore, the color was sometimes was associated with witchcraft, and with faeries and spirits. The type of Irish fairy known as a leprechaun is commonly portrayed wearing a green suit, though before the 20th century he was usually described as wearing a red suit.
In theater and film, green was often connected with monsters and the inhuman. The earliest films of Frankenstein were in black and white, but in the poster for the 1935 version The Bride of Frankenstein, the monster had a green face. Actor Bela Lugosi wore green-hued makeup for the role of Dracula in the 1927–1928 Broadway stage production.
Poison and sickness
Like other common colors, green has several completely opposite associations. While it is the color most associated by Europeans and Americans with good health, it is also the color most often associated with toxicity and poison. There was a solid foundation for this association; in the nineteenth century several popular paints and pigments, notably verdigris, vert de Schweinfurt and vert de Paris, were highly toxic, containing copper or arsenic. The intoxicating drink absinthe was known as “the green fairy”.
A green tinge in the skin is sometimes associated with nausea and sickness. The expression ‘green at the gills’ means appearing sick. The color, when combined with gold, is sometimes seen as representing the fading of youth. In some Far East cultures the color green is used as a symbol of sickness or nausea.
Social status, prosperity and the dollar
Green in Europe and the United States is sometimes associated with status and prosperity. From the Middle Ages to the 19th century it was often worn by bankers, merchants country gentlemen and others who were wealthy but not members of the nobility. The benches in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, where the landed gentry sat, are colored green.
In the United States green was connected with the dollar bill. Since 1861, the reverse side of the dollar bill has been green. Green was originally chosen because it deterred counterfeiters, who tried to use early camera equipment to duplicate banknotes. Also, since the banknotes were thin, the green on the back did not show through and muddle the pictures on the front of the banknote. Green continues to be used because the public now associates it with a strong and stable currency.
One of the more notable uses of this meaning is found in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The Emerald City in this story is a place where everyone wears tinted glasses that make everything appear green. According to the populist interpretation of the story, the city’s color is used by the author, L. Frank Baum, to illustrate the financial system of America in his day, as he lived in a time when America was debating the use of paper money versus gold.
The flag of Italy (1797) was modeled after the flag of France. It was originally the flag of the Cisalpine Republic, and the green came from the uniforms of the army of Milan.
The flag of Brazil (1889). The green color was inherited from the flag of the Empire of Brazil, where it represented the color of the House of Braganza.
The flag of Ireland (1919). The green represents the culture and traditions of Gaelic Ireland.
The flag of India (1947). The green has been said at different times to represent the Muslim community of India, hope, or prosperity.
The flag of Bangladesh (1971). The green field stands for the lushness of the land of Bangladesh
The Flag of Saudi Arabia (1973) has the green color of Islam. The inscription in Arabic says: There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his Prophet,”
The flag of South Africa (1994) includes green, yellow and black, the colors of the African National Congress.
The former flag of Libya (1977–2011) was the only monochromatic flag in the world, with no design or details.
The flag of Nigeria (1960). The green represents the forests and natural wealth of the country.
The flag of Pakistan (1947). The green part represents the Muslim majority of the country.
The flag of Italy (1797) was modeled after the French tricolor. It was originally the flag of the Cisalpine Republic, whose capital was Milan; red and white were the colors of Milan, and green was the color of the military uniforms of the army of the Cisalpine Republic. Other versions say it is the color of the Italian landscape, or symbolizes hope.
The flag of Brazil has a green field adapted from the flag of the Empire of Brazil. The green represented the royal family.
The flag of India was inspired by an earlier flag of the independence movement of Gandhi, which had a red band for Hinduism and a green band representing Islam, the second largest religion in India.
The flag of Pakistan symbolizes Pakistan’s commitment to Islam and equal rights of religious minorities where the larger portion (3:2 ratio) of flag is dark green representing Muslim majority (98% of total population) while a white vertical bar (3:1 ratio) at the mast representing equal rights for religious minorities and minority religions in country. The crescent and star symbolizes progress and bright future respectively.
The Flag of Bangladesh has a green field based on a similar flag used during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. It consists of a red disc on top of a green field. The red disc represents the sun rising over Bengal, and also the blood of those who died for the independence of Bangladesh. The green field stands for the lushness of the land of Bangladesh.
Green is one of the three colors (along with red and black, or red and gold) of Pan-Africanism. Several African countries thus use the color on their flags, including Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Ethiopia, Togo, Guinea, Benin, and Zimbabwe. The Pan-African colors are borrowed from the Ethiopian flag, one of the oldest independent African countries. Green on some African flags represents the natural richness of Africa.
Many flags of the Islamic world are green, as the color is considered sacred in Islam (see below). The flag of Hamas, as well as the flag of Iran, is green, symbolizing their Islamist ideology. The 1977 flag of Libya consisted of a simple green field with no other characteristics. It was the only national flag in the world with just one color and no design, insignia, or other details. Some countries used green in their flags to represent their country’s lush vegetation, as in the flag of Jamaica, and hope in the future, as in the flags of Portugal and Nigeria. The green cedar of Lebanon tree on the Flag of Lebanon officially represents steadiness and tolerance.
Green is a symbol of Ireland, which is often referred to as the “Emerald Isle”. The color is particularly identified with the republican and nationalist traditions in modern times. It is used this way on the flag of the Republic of Ireland, in balance with white and the Protestant orange. Green is a strong trend in the Irish holiday St. Patrick’s Day.
The first recorded green party was a political faction in Constantinople during the 6th century Byzantine Empire. which took its name from a popular chariot racing team. They were bitter opponents of the blue faction, which supported Emperor Justinian I and which had its own chariot racing team. In 532 AD rioting between the factions began after one race, which led to the massacre of green supporters and the destruction of much of the center of Constantinople. (See Nika Riots).
Green was the traditional color of Irish nationalism, beginning in the 17th century. The green harp flag, with a traditional gaelic harp, became the symbol of the movement. It was the banner of the Society of United Irishmen, which organized the Irish Rebellion of 1798, calling for Irish independence. The uprising was suppressed with great bloodshed by the British army. When Ireland achieved independence in 1922, green was incorporated into the national flag.
In the 1970s green became the color of the third biggest Swiss Federal Council political party, the Swiss People’s Party SVP. The ideology is Swiss nationalism, national conservatism, right-wing populism, economic liberalism, agrarianism, isolationism, euroscepticism. The SVP was founded on September 22, 1971 and has 90,000 members.
In the 1980s green became the color of a number of new European political parties organized around an agenda of environmentalism. Green was chosen for its association with nature, health, and growth. The largest green party in Europe is Alliance ’90/The Greens (German: Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) in Germany, which was formed in 1993 from the merger of the German Green Party, founded in West Germany in 1980, and Alliance 90, founded during the Revolution of 1989–1990 in East Germany. In the 2009 federal elections, the party won 11% of the votes and 68 out of 622 seats in the Bundestag.
Green parties in Europe have programs based on ecology, grassroots democracy, nonviolence, and social justice. Green parties are found in over one hundred countries, and most are members of the Global Green Network.
Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization which emerged from the anti-nuclear and peace movements in the 1970s. Its ship, the Rainbow Warrior, frequently tried to interfere with nuclear tests and whaling operations. The movement now has branches in forty countries.
The Australian Greens party was founded in 1992. In the 2010 federal election, the party received 13% of the vote (more than 1.6 million votes) in the Senate, a first for any Australian minor party.
Green is the color associated with Puerto Rico’s Independence Party, the smallest of that country’s three major political parties, which advocates Puerto Rican independence from the United States.
Green is the traditional color of Islam. According to tradition, the robe and banner of Muhammad were green, and according to the Koran (XVIII, 31 and LXXVI, 21) those fortunate enough to live in paradise wear green silk robes. Muhammad is quoted in a hadith as saying that “water, greenery, and a beautiful face” were three universally good things.
Al-Khidr (“The Green One”), was an important Qur’anic figure who was said to have met and traveled with Moses. He was given that name because of his role as a diplomat and negotiator. Green was also considered to be the median color between light and obscurity.
Roman Catholic and more traditional Protestant clergy wear green vestments at liturgical celebrations during Ordinary Time. In the Eastern Catholic Church, green is the color of Pentecost. Green is one of the Christmas colors as well, possibly dating back to pre-Christian times, when evergreens were worshiped for their ability to maintain their color through the winter season. Romans used green holly and evergreen as decorations for their winter solstice celebration called Saturnalia, which eventually evolved into a Christmas celebration. In Ireland and Scotland especially, green is used to represent Catholics, while orange is used to represent Protestantism. This is shown on the national flag of Ireland.
In gambling and sports
Gambling tables in a casino are traditionally green. The tradition is said to have started in gambling rooms in Venice in the 16th century.
Billiards tables are traditionally covered with green woolen cloth. The first indoor tables, dating to the 15th century, were colored green after the grass courts used for the similar lawn games of the period.
Green was the traditional color worn by hunters in the 19th century, particularly the shade called hunter green. In the 20th century most hunters began wearing the color olive drab, a shade of green, instead of hunter green.
Green is a common color for sports teams. Well-known teams include A.S. Saint-Étienne of France, known as Les Verts (The Greens). A number of national soccer teams feature the color, with the color usually reflective of the teams’ national flag.
British racing green was the international motor racing color of Britain from the early 1900s until the 1960s, when it was replaced by the colors of the sponsoring automobile companies.
A green belt in karate, taekwondo and judo symbolizes a level of proficiency in the sport.
Idioms and expressions
Having a green thumb. To be passionate about or talented at gardening. The expression was popularized beginning in 1925 by a BBC gardening program.
Greenhorn. Someone who is inexperienced.
Green-eyed monster. Refers to jealousy. (See section above on jealousy and envy).
Greenmail. A term used in finance and corporate takeovers. It refers to the practice of a company paying a high price to buy back shares of its own stock to prevent an unfriendly takeover by another company or businessman. It originated in the 1980s on Wall Street, and originates from the green of dollars.
Green room. A room at a theater where actors rest when not onstage, or a room at a television studio where guests wait before going on-camera. It originated in the late 17th century from a room of that color at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London.
Greenwashing. Environmental activists sometimes use this term to describe the advertising of a company which promotes its positive environmental practices to cover up its environmental destruction.
Green around the gills. A description of a person who looks physically ill.
Going green. An expression commonly used to refer to preserving the natural environment, and participating in activities such as recycling materials.
Source From Wikipedia