Probably, we tend to take holiday colors for granted, not giving them too much thought since they’re simply ingrained in our culture.
And It’s usually pretty obvious what colors go with which holidays: all you need to do is step into most general or grocery stores to see full aisles filled with the hues of the season. But what might be less obvious is why certain colors are associated with certain holidays.
Why are Christmas colors red and green, for instance? Well, in due time, I will also explain this to you. Of course, sometimes the colors are self-explanatory, like the association of red, white, and blue with the Fourth of July, or green with St. Patrick’s Day, or so you’d think.
But other times, the colors can seem random, like black and orange that begin to take over department store aisles and pop up outside homes as decorations at Halloween. The reason is just because of black cats and pumpkins, or is there a deeper meaning to it?
In the early days of Halloween-like celebrations, black actually was supposed to be more sad than macabre. We know that Halloween can trace its origins back to a pagan celebration called Samhain, a ritual that the ancient Celts celebrated in late October and early November. This is because it was approximately halfway between the fall equinox and winter solstice, and the purpose of the celebration was to welcome in the time of harvest, and with it, the dark half of the year.
However, the true symbolic significance of black had to do with death. The ancient Celts believed that during Samhain, the boundaries between the living and the dead were weakened, so the celebration would also include tributes and offerings to deceased ancestors. In addition, celebrants wore a black mourning dress.
Also orange has to do with the particular time of year. Again, Samhain was ushering in the harvest time and people would have seen the trees turn orange after months of greenery. But this color also has to do with another important component of the ancient Samhain celebrations: fire. The ancient Celts would light community fires while leaving the fires in their own hearths to burn out. Fires that could also be rituals to help ward off evil spirits while the gateway between the living and the dead was weak. And what colour were they? Certainly orange…