An Appreciation of the Colour Purple*

Purple. What can you say about this colour? It is rarely seen and often overlooked; yet it has a long prestigious history and is truly a lovely colour when seen in nature. Oddly, it has slipped from fashion over the last decade or two. Why is that?

Going back through the centuries the colour purple held a very lofty regal significance. In antiquity purple dye was very expensive. It was the go-to choice for any royal ceremony. Not just European kings and queens but also heavily used by eastern imperial courts and worn by Roman magistrates. You couldn’t beat it for making a powerful over the top statement when purple silks are trimmed in gold thread and ermine furs. Wow.

Purple robes worn in the church imply that one clergy is more senior than another. It also represents repentance. During Advent and Lent seasons, purple reflects sorrow and suffering.

Royalty have a love of purple in their DNS. Just research images of Queen Elizabeth and count how many times she has favoured to appear at the Royal Ascot horse race gracing a silly purple hat.

Purple was hip to the LSD infused psychedelic 60’s. Swirling violet swatches of tied dyed hues were the norm to this mind-bending generation. Remember Jimi Hendrix’s Fender Stratocaster whaling out “Purple Haze”?

Little girls – usually between the age of 4 and 8 just love the colour purple. It pairs so nicely with pink and accessorized with lots and lots of glitter. Mattel and Disney capitalized on this fact churning out billions of purple  stuffed cuddly Share Care Bears and unicorns with purple saddles. The evil Sea Witch Ursula was purple, as well as a singing dinosaur named Barney. They mass-produced trillions of tiny pieces of purple plastic, Polly Pocket dolls, miniature plastic shopping carts, tidy up vacuum sets, tea services and purple Dora the explore plastic backpacks.

Sports teams sometimes use purple. It is an energetic hue. The Colorado Rockies baseball uniform and the University of Western Ontario school colours are just two examples.

I believe Mother Nature’s sees the colour purple as one of her special children: a daughter; the quirky artist one with a dynamite sense of humour. Why else would she paint an ugly eggplant the richest sensuous aubergine hue. She has also chosen to disguise the horrid turnip in deep winey mauve. Let’s appreciate the beautiful colour of ripe plums, juicy grapes and even blueberries (although inaccurately named) are all blessed with a long-lasting purple stain.

Purple is mysterious and magical. She is found in the satin lining of a magician’s cape and the chosen sock colour for most witches.

Purple can be melancholic.  Catch a hint of her in the final wispy cloud after the sun has slipped below the horizon. She can be moody with a temper blowing up in a dark stormy sky.   Fierce and dangerous.
Odd that the month February has been assigned the amethyst birthstone. Odd that this gem is not assigned to June in recognition of the fragrant lilac bushes and tiny violets. We all love our purple tulips and great bearded irises. Nature gifted the colour purple to her lovelies of flowers.

There are very very very few purple animals – birds rarely, animals no. Even the purple finch is more a reddish pigment. Sometimes the blue jay can have faint shades of purple in his crown. I’d be stretching it to include the ink of the octopus. Even that is more a mauvy black. Let’s include starfish because they sometimes are purple with a little violet. Done. That’s it.

Research says that the colour purple signifies faith, hope, wisdom, courage and admiration.

As you can see Purple is rare. Purple is unique. Purple is mysterious and moody, youthful and fun. She is plucky and funky, beautiful and assertive. At times she comes with a power temper not to be overlooked. She is my kind of girl.

  • Silly piece – prepared in a panic when I had no inspiration and desperately needed a topic for my writing group meeting


About westlakemusings

In 2013 my husband and I retired. We bought an old pre-confederation house out in the country. This blog is about our new world in the country as we explore all of life's possibilities.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

I would love to hear your thoughts. I really, really love comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s