In the language of colors, hope is most commonly represented by green and yellow.
At first glance, yellow and green may seem to be a contrast to each other, since green is a cool color while yellow is a warm color.
However, both green and yellow are seen as positive colors that remind people to stay hopeful and keep looking forward to a new tomorrow.
Remember that symbolism is subjective. The below are examples of possible interpretations only, and may not be the correct interpretations for you and your situation.
What Colors Symbolize Hope?
The colors green and yellow often symbolize hope. Green is the color of nature and represents growth and new beginnings, and yellow represents sunshine, light, and happiness.
Since green is the dominant color of plants and nature, it often signifies new beginnings and the possibility of growing and thriving despite any challenge.
This is similar to how plants are able to survive strong winds and destructive storms, and how new seedlings still rise from the ground after a disaster. Because of these, the color green is also related to fertility and healing.
Yellow, on the other hand, is the color of the sun as we perceive it to be.
While the sun is actually white, meaning it has all the colors of the spectrum, it appears yellowish to the naked eye, especially in the morning.
With this association, the color yellow is associated more with the breaking of dawn, when the light of the sun first touches the sky.
Read More: Symbolism of the Dawn
Green as a Color of Hope
From the name itself, green already stands for growth, fertility, and new beginnings. Even when translated in different languages, the meaning remains the same.
The first records of the word green being used to symbolize a color date back to 700 AD.
The old words “grene” in English or “ grænn” in Norse, as well as the German word “grün” all refer to growing and are believed to be the source of the now commonly used word “green”. The same goes for its translations in other language, such as “viridis” in Latin, “vert” in French, and “Verde” in Italian.
1. Green Means Life
As the color of leaves, vegetables, and the grass that covers the earth, green has been seen as a metaphor for life.
It signifies that the land is alive and is able to support life, because plants are able to grow and survive. This is in contrast with barren deserts and dry, rocky land, which are in shades of brown and gray, which seem to be devoid of life.
Read More: How Leaves Symbolize Growth
Even in places where there is winter, evergreen plants are able to keep flourishing despite the cold. This shows tenacity and the will to live in the middle of hardships.
On the other hand, deciduous plants that shed their leaves in winter always grow them back in spring. It is a continuous cycle that signifies rebirth and renewal.
In the Mayan civilization, a green butterfly is a sign of good luck and brings hope to the household. Having a green butterfly visit one’s house while a family member is sick is taken as an indication that the person will recover soon.
2. Green Makes People Feel Good
According to research, green has a calming and reassuring effect on the brain. It can also inspire creativity, improve reading and comprehension, and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
Research suggests that this psychological effect of green can be credited to evolution.
Because the color is associated with plants and nature, seeing green means that there is food available and thus, it signifies survival. For these reasons, green has also been associated with good health and productivity
However, it is also important to note that there are also negative connotations to this color, as it can also be associated with envy and jealousy.
This can be traced to the physical condition of someone’s skin turning a little green due to illnesses caused by the overproduction of bile in the body.
Early medical practitioners believed that feeling envious or jealous was the cause of this condition.
3. Green Is Therapeutic
Recent medical advancements suggest that color may have a beneficial effect in the treatment of certain illnesses.
This new approach, called color therapy or chromotherapy, can be included in the treatment plan as an alternative or complementary solution to the usual medicines.
Color therapy uses one or a combination of colors to address specific mental and physical ailments.
Green, in particular, has been tested on pain treatments for issues like migraines and mild fibromyalgia. Initial results have indicated that the color is effective in reducing acute and chronic pain.
Yellow As A Color Of Hope
Yellow is a warm color that is closely associated with sunshine and is often used to signify happiness, warmth, enlightenment, and optimism.
Because sunlight is also believed to represent a new beginning and a fresh start, the color is also taken as a symbol of hope.
Read More: Symbolism of The Sun
In ancient Egypt, yellow was the color of royals and deities because of its resemblance to gold. However, it has also been related to deceit and treachery because of Judas, who is popularly known in the Christian religion as the betrayer of Jesus. In paintings and stories, Judas is often described to be wearing yellow robes.
1. Yellow Inspires Positive Thinking
Studies show that yellow affects our brain in positive ways. People often associate the color with warm, uplifting feelings such as joy, excitement, enthusiasm, and hope.
There are even claims that it can be used to aid treatments for seasonal depression which occurs during winter because the color reminds patients of warmer and brighter days.
Yellow is actually the lightest color that is visible to the naked eye and has the ability to trigger a reaction on the left side of the brain which stands for logic, mental agility, and processing of information.
Thus, it can inspire clarity in decision making, improve focus and memory retention, and enhance analytical abilities.
2. Yellow In Religious Cultures
For the Christian community, yellow represents the Divine, while it means happiness and protection in Hinduism. Buddhists, on the other hand, use a darker shade of yellow to represent humility and selflessness.
Because it is synonymous with light, Christians believe that it indicates the presence of God in the community. It is also the symbol of hope and rebirth because of its association with the resurrection of Jesus.
In the Hindu religion, it represents knowledge, happiness, and calm as some of their deities are described as wearing yellow garments. Maidens also wear yellow to protect themselves from evil spirits.
Buddhists use a shade of yellow called saffron to represent a person’s separation from materialism. The shade is a cross between yellow and orange and is often used by monks for their robes.
3. Yellow Ribbons as a Message of Hope and Life
Over the years, the use of the color yellow has evolved from being just a color and has turned into a strong symbol of survival and a positive outlook. It has been used in campaigns to welcome veterans back home.
Using yellow ribbons to await the return of a loved one is a tradition that is believed to have started during the civil war. This version has been immortalized in a movie, titled “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon”, and a song, called “Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree.”
Yet another version claims that the practice originated from a folk tale about the homecoming of a convict. Unsure if his family welcomed his return, he asked them to let him know by tying a yellow ribbon on the tree in front of their house.
This way, he would be able to see how they feel when the train passes by, which will determine whether he will alight from the train or continue on to an unknown destination.
The tradition has been used several times to welcome people home, including veterans and prisoners. Today, yellow ribbons also stand for rehabilitation programs for previous convicts.
How to Interpret Spiritual Symbolism
Interpreting symbolism and spiritual meanings is subjective and deeply personal. The symbolic meanings listed in this article are examples of potential interpretations, but might not be true for your situation.
Make sure you meditate and journal about your vision. Reflect on what you saw and think about what message you think is relevant to you and your life right now.
This doesn’t mean choosing the message you want to hear, but the one you think you need to hear at this point in your life. Only you can decide which meaning is the right one for your situation.
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Both green and yellow have different meanings, depending on the context, culture, and religious beliefs. While many are positive and uplifting, some are also negative, such as envy and jealousy. Make sure to check the situation and cultural context before using any of these colors.
Read Next: What Colors Symbolize Happiness?
But if you are looking to improve your outlook and change your mood for the better, one or both colors would be a good choice. Green and yellow, as symbols of hope, remind us to not give up and keep looking forward despite our dark past.
Like the leaves and grass that continue to grow despite harsh environments, and the sunlight breaks the dark of the night, there is always a chance to recover as long as we hold on.
I’m Chris and I run this website – a resource about symbolism, metaphors, idioms, and a whole lot more! Thanks for dropping by.