Facts about Purple

14 February 2024

Last month there was an article about the psychology of color. Continuing on that same general theme, this month we are exploring violet or purple, the darkest shade in a rainbow.

The word violet stems from Latin into old French viola into violete, which was used to describe the flower. Purple comes from a choice of two origins. Porplura from ancient Greece or a sea snail purpura mollusk. The creature was the primary source of the dye used to make purple. Since there was such a small amount extracted from each mollusk, the dye was extremely expensive and available only to the royals, the church, or very wealthy. Thus we have “born to the purple” or its association with those folks.

All of this changed in 1856 when William Henry Perkin was cleaning flasks from his experiments in malaria treatments. Using alcohol to clean beakers, he created a synthesised purple dye, making the color available to the masses in a variety of hues and at a reasonable cost.

In terms of psychology, this is a color that is associated with power and energy. These people are thought to be dignified and spiritual. This all comes from the color’s association with the wealthy and religious. It is linked to reflection and introspection and connections with a higher power.

If purple or violet, or one of its shades (lavender, plum, mauve, puce etc.) is your favorite color, you are thought to be compassionate and supportive. You are one of those people who needs to be needed, like a long-suffering caregiver. However, be cautious because that also means you leave yourself vulnerable to misuse or being taken advantage of. If that occurs, you will be particularly sensitive to harsh comments, but probably will bear the hurt without a peep. There is a tendency to introversion.

Okay, onto some other interesting, or possibly inane, factoids.

  • It is very rare to see someone with purple colored eyes. Elizabeth Taylor was widely known for that, among other things. This iris coloration is caused by some alteration along the genetic strand. It can also be a sign of albinism. Eyes changing color to violet can also be a symptom of a tumor or a symptom of an inflammation.
  • Carrots were originally purple, and you can still find them around. However, the theory is that the Dutch did some cross breeding to honor William of Orange and now carrots are more commonly that color.
  • If, for some reason, you have the fear of purple, it is called porphyrophobia.
  • In many Western cultures, purple is a symbol of the gay community.
  • Purple is also the designated color for epilepsy awareness. That is because the lavender plant was a homeopathic or traditional herb for treating the disease. Purple Day, March 26, was created in 2008 to encourage everyone to wear purple to raise awareness for this condition.
  • The Archbishop of Cyprus signs official papers in purple ink.
  • The Color Purple, a movie released in 1985 and based on the novel of the same name by Alice Walker, was nominated for11 Oscars. However, it won none.
  • The word is that Samuel L. Jackson would only play the role of Mace Windu (Star Wars series) if he could use a purple lightsaber.
  • The complementary color to purple is yellow. Notice how many arrangements of pansies feature both the purple and yellows.
  • Forbidden City in China is actually called the Purple Forbidden City. This is apparently in reference to a clandestine region of heaven thought to be near the North Star and is itself purple.

Well, this is probably more than you ever thought there could be about purple or even considered something you were interested in. Think of it as material for your next Trivia night.

Finger Lakes Events

See Your Business Here!

For more information on our listings, advertising, coupons, and mailers, please contact us today!