Colours make our lives alive! We identify characteristics of objects with colours; we ignite our taste buds with colours. Colours can make or break our concepts of the society in which we live. Yet beyond these concepts, colours do have their psychological and physical impact on human body and mind. With the onset of festive seasons, let us begin with how we can create mood or environment with colours! Tropical countries like India generally have full three seasons, summer, winter and rains. Each season is associated with its own festivals, colours and moods. Summers inherently are hot in nature and with ripe fruits; it is obviously associated with warm colours: yellow, orange and red. Interesting to notice is that the winters , which are cold and are associated with blues and violets and greys are also transformed into colours of light and brightness in most of the cultures, with the celebrations like Diwali, Christmas, Hanukah all coming in the last months of the year. How do we associate with warm colours and light? When everyone is tired of summer heat and wishes for rain showers and windy winters, how are all interested in adorning the colours of this warm season throughout the year?
In order to understand this, let us look at how we see light and darkness as civilized humans in the first place. Since Homo sapiens, the first of species began to create settlements, human life was very short, an average of 35 years. They did scattered farming and lived by eating from the forests vegetation, hunting or leftovers of hunt. Winters were tough to survive since the fruits and vegetables were hard to find, animals went in hibernation and cold was difficult to sustain. Man after discovering the miracle if fire, could ignite warmth in winters and light in darkness. In order to survive, he began being close to home, in larger groups of humans and thus began crating events to come together in this season, what today we celebrate as festivals! The festivals in winters are associated of man’s victory over death, of community empowerment over fear of starvation. What we thus do in our festivals, now replete with numerous myths and histories, is coming together to overcome the cold by warmth of food, safety and love. Obviously our festivals adorn the colours of ripe autumn, ignited fire and the season of summer when all is clear abundant. Genetically we have grown with these associations for thousands of centuries and thus feel love with red, warmth with orange and prosperous with yellow!
Secondly let us look at how we see the warm colours physically. Colours are nothing with reflected light, the objects directly do not have any colour. Colour is carried by light, electromagnetic waves but the sensation of colour is subject to many other influences. We see colours because of different wavelengths hitting the cones in our retina. Which wavelengths are reflected and absorbed depends on the property of the object. Human eye adjusts when focusing on colours of different wavelengths. In good illumination, more wavelengths reach upto the eye and we fell we see more colour, thus we associate with the colours of sunlight to knowledge and understanding. Warm colours have longer wavelengths than cool colours and thus are more remarkable to the eye. Warm colours are vivid and bold in nature; they tend to advance in space and can be overwhelming. Sun, fire, clay, ripe fruits, hunt animals, blood, blushing, furiously are all associated with warm colours. We thus associate many life sources with the shades of yellow, orange and red. Obviously, they make us happy and give an instant satisfaction of fulfilment.
Warm colours thus make our festivals actual celebrations, almost all the delicious food items that we eat on festivities too come in various shades of warm colours. The lanterns that are hung, the lamps that are lit, Rangolis that adorn the entrances, the red of Santa and cherries, the bright fireworks all are after all our attempts to add warmth with colours to the coldness of weather, to the absence of light.
If all the attempts at the end are to ‘add colour’ to our lives, this Diwali, on the festival of light, don’t just give random to our loved ones. This Christmas don’t stop with just one day of colourful decoration. Buy your loved ones paintings of reds and oranges and yellows! Gift them with colours of warmth, security, splendour and infinite love with paintings, which they could adorn their rooms live with them for years. Its colours that are adding to their lives, let the warmth remain after you.