History, Symbolism and Meaning of White colour

Let us be the white light of purity to those who want to shine!

The colour white is a synonym for cleanliness, purity, innocence, illumination, sterility, spirituality and perfection.

What more does the achromatic hue mean?

Is it the snowflake crystals or the absolute spiritual being?

Could there be any negative associations of white?

In the natural world, we can find white in many forms. It can be the beautiful snow, cotton, clouds, the benevolent white tiger, the symbol of peace- White Dove and polar bear. It is also heavily associated with dairy products and often used for low-fat foods. Many companies use a white dot to express that it is a milk-based product. The white colour is also considered the visual representation of the flavours of vanilla and milk.

significance of white coloured animal

The association of white colour with cleanliness and sterility is, predominantly, found in hospitals, medical centres, laboratories to demonstrate safety and precaution. An affiliation of White colour is with the Doctor’s coat, brides’ gown and white lilies.

White is a favourite of Feng Shui as well. In Feng Shi, white is a very strong colour and is used to create an arrangement of great harmony. All colours are linked to particular elements of feng shui and white is the element of metal. It is among the most preferred colours for kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms. White flowers in white pots are also a great way of incorporating white elements in your surroundings.

Read on to find the meaning and symbolism of white colour and much more.

1.) Landscapes and different meaning:

meaning of white colour in wedding

What more can these varied cultures and countries have to say about the colour white? What are the meanings of white and symbolism in all of them? Let us travel the lands of the west to the east, on our little colour tour.

In western culture, the prominent meanings of white are purity, beginning, wedding and sacrifice. In many European countries, it is symbolic of nobility and high class. The value of white is also prominent as it is the choice of colour by the queen of Britain, Queen Elizabeth II. She can be seen wearing white on special occasions such as the opening of the sessions of the British Parliament.

In religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam, white is a crucial colour. Roman Catholic Church views white as the symbol of sacrifice and has associated it with Jesus Christ. The white lilies are considered the flowers of purity and innocence and are symbolic of the Virgin Mary.

The Popes wear white as a traditional practice, started by Pope Pius V of the Dominic Order in 1556. In Judaism, the rabbi and members of the congregation wear white during the rituals of Yom Kippur, to restore the bond between God and his subjects.

Travelling to the middle-east and south Asia, we find some new meanings of white. In Islamic countries, white is the colour of clothing worn to the required pilgrimage of Mecca. The beautiful Conch shells hold religious significance for both Hindus and Buddhists.

In India, the colour white is associated with serenity, peace, purity, divinity, and detachment. The practice of white is also prominent in mourning as white is symbolic of rebirth. The Indian national flag has a white stripe on it as a symbol of sacrifice and peace.

important white monuments

Let us move to the lands of the far east. In China, white has many meanings and symbolism. White is a masculine colour in China. The symbol of Yin and Yang, white represents masculine energy. In some Asian countries like China and Korea, it was used in mourning and funerals (though western influence has changed this practice a little).

In Japan, pilgrims adorn white clothes for purification and bathing rituals. In the Shinto religion of this country, white gravel or stones are used to mark the sacred place of Niwa. 

In Thailand, the colour is symbolic of purity and Buddhism. A similar meaning of white found in Vietnam is purity and the end.

2.) Popular Phrases with White:

meaning of white ghost

White is one of the most used colours to help describe situations when used in phrases and idioms. A few of them are:

  • White as a ghost/sheet – to be frightened after seeing or hearing something
  • Tell white lies – to tell lies which might seem harmless
  • Whitewash – to cover up something or to hide and conceal something
  • White-collar job – an authoritative administrative job; a managerial post.
  • White flag – used to represent or signal a peaceful surrender

3.) Negative association:

negative effects of white

White is considered the purest of colours. The absolute opposite of darkness. However, even the perfect he has some negative associations. Most of these associations depend on individuals as well.  

The colour psychology of white can have varied effects depending on the personality of an individual. The colour white is a bland and boring hue for some. It has low imaginative and creative aspect. It may be a perfect and beautiful colour for one but a bland and tedious hue for another. Contrastingly, it may seem too perfect and burdensome for some. The various perceptions of white colour are one of its many charms.

A negative affiliation of white seen in some cultures is that it represents death and mourning. 

The personality of an individual might see white as cold, distant and aloof. Though mostly, it is associated with morals, it can make some people uncomfortable, if a project or space is too perfect, or too synthetic. 

Other colours around white may seem too vibrant or stiff and can give an overall overwhelming experience.

4.) Effects on the body and mind:

meaning of white in flowers

The white colour is serene and calming. It helps create mental clarity. A person in a troubled state of mind can let their imagination in a simple white room. Unlike any hue of the spectrum, white colour empties the mind. While red, yellow and blue stimulate our mind in varied ways, white colour lets the train of wild thoughts take a backseat.

The colour white allows for an individual to start afresh. It helps us to clean up and remove any obstacles. With a clear mind, it is easier for the person to begin a new journey!

As aforementioned, the white colour is a very powerful element in feng shui as well. It can be used along with wood and glass to bring the positive values of white. Also, the use of white with a little black can go extraordinarily well just like the yin to the yang!


Concluding our thoughts on White, we find the meaning of white in various forms from purity, origin, wedlock and atonement to cold, distant and aloof. It has various effects on the body (as aforementioned) and also a strong component in astrology and feng shui. We hope our thoughts help you use this beautiful colour of white to the best of its capacity!