The multitude of holidays celebrating historic events and religious and secular days, weeks and months vary widely among the diverse communities of the United States. Most have specific holiday colors associated with the celebration, from white to black and every color in between. No matter what your personal preferences and beliefs may be, there's a holiday that fits your favorite color scheme.
First Quarter – January 1
Red and gold kick off the Chinese or Lunar New Year. From red packets that hold one or more gold coins to the fantastic parades of colorful Chinese dragons dancing through the streets, the red of good fortune, happiness and success combined with gold for wealth dominate the celebration of the Lunar New Year.
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Valentine's Day brings red along with pink and white to this romantic holiday. Combining red, which represents love, with white, the symbolic color of purity, results in pink. Red, pink and white roses, red heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates and other sweet treats brighten the drab days of winter.
St Patrick's Day and the spring equinox incorporate green, green and more green, from the vivid green of the shamrock to the yellow-green and lime-green of emerging new leaves after the long, dark days of winter. Add whites, yellows and pinks to equinox celebrations to represent snowdrops, narcissus, flowering cherries and other late-winter and early spring flowers.
Second Quarter – April 1
While Passover doesn't have a traditional color scheme, decorating tends to favor floral bouquets that incorporate white for purity and blue for divinity. Daisies, daffodils and sunflowers may be included as a joyful expression of Passover as well as other Jewish holidays. The modern celebration of Easter and the resurrection is filled with the pastels of spring, including yellows, pinks, greens and blues, from colored eggs and candies to new outfits for the family.
Holi is the Hindu festival of colors. Blues, greens, yellows and brilliant reds symbolize the primary gods of Hinduism. During the local spring festival, which follows a lunar calendar, you might be splashed with colorful dyes as you pass crowds joyfully celebrating spring's arrival as well as the victory of good over evil. The modern color scheme of Muslim Americans during the holy month of Ramadan and feast of Eid Al-Fitr incorporates purple, yellow and green. Green is the most mentioned color in the Koran and Prophet Muhammad's favorite color.
The celebration of Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in Texas, when Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas on June 19, 1865 and announced that all the enslaved people in Texas were now free. While the official Juneteenth flag, created in 1997, is red, white and blue, Black Independence Day is also honored with the Pan-African flag of red, black and green, which honors the African diaspora as well as liberation and freedom.
Third Quarter – July 1
The third quarter of the year is dominated by red, white and blue. Starting in the second quarter with Memorial Day and then moving on to Independence Day on July 4th and Labor Day on the first Monday in September, Americans celebrate the forming of the United States as well as the economic and social achievements of workers.
The autumn or fall equinox, arriving on September 22, signifies the end of summer. Fall fills the color palette, from yellow to orange to red in myriad tints, tones and shades. The classic colors of chrysanthemums, the changing leaves of trees and the ripening fall fruits, like pumpkins, dominate as the days grow shorter.
Fourth Quarter – October 1
The last three months of the year are crowded with holidays, including the orange and black of Halloween and the yellows, oranges and browns associated with Thanksgiving. Veteran's Day, originally known as Armistice Day, adds red, white and blue to November 11th observances.
The three best-known holidays in December are Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. Blue and silver are the traditional colors of Hanukkah, while green and red symbolize Christmas. The seven days of Kwanzaa use black, red and green. Black represents the people of the African diaspora, red stands for their noble blood and green represents their African homeland.
New Year's Eve celebrations are the finale for a year filled with holidays. While you can use your favorite colors to decorate your home, specific holiday colors may include white for peace and tranquility, gold for prosperity and red for love. In any case, whether flashy, sparkling or elegant, everything goes when celebrating the end of the old year and the entrance of the new year.
- University of Wisconsin-Madison: Religious Holidays 101: Quick-Start Guide to Learning About Holidays Beyond Christmas
- Smithsonian Magazine: The Meaning Behind the Many Colors of India’s Holi Festival
- University of Central Florida: Celebrating the Lunar New Year
- Oprah Daily: What Is Juneteenth? Why the Historic Day Should Be a Federal Holiday
- Refinery29: How Pinterest Changed The Way We Celebrate Ramadan
- PBS: Seven Interesting Facts About Kwanzaa
- U.S. Flag Etiquette