The Colour Green.

It is the people’s favourite colour, second only to blue, and has meaning in the realms of psychology, symbolism and religion the world over. It is the colour green.

Not a primary colour, but made from a blend of yellow and blue it can range from the palest mint to the brightest lime to the darkest forest shade. Green symbolizes nature; it is the easiest colour of the spectrum on the eye and can improve vision. A calming, refreshing colour, hospitals often use it because it subconsciously relaxes patients by giving a calming effect on the nervous system and encouraging a feeling of well-being. Green creates a reassuring ambiance, a feeling of comfort and a link with the great outdoors.

Such associated words as environment, health, calm, good luck, renewal, youth, spring, and fertility indicate the positive view we have of the colour and how it benefits us daily, but historically not everything about green has been good. Jealousy, inexperience, envy and misfortune are equally associated with it. Sayings we all know like to be ‘green’ or ‘wet behind the ears’ (inexperienced) and to be ‘green with envy’ (jealous) indicate the negative side. In the Middle Ages, green was considered the colour of disaster and wickedness. It was symbolized in superstition to the point where people would not dress in green. Although there are reports of brides in Medieval times wearing green to invoke fertility.

However, these days the overall impression of green is a good one, many companies, organisations and groups use green as their main colour, anything linked to environmental issues is automatically classed as ‘green’, green living is the way to be and there are obviously the expressions we use such as to give somebody the ‘green light’ to go ahead with something, or when gardeners are described as having green fingers or thumbs as a testament to their skill.

The most glamorous article in the world of green things is arguably the gemstone emerald. A beautiful variety of the mineral beryl, coloured green by trace amounts of chromium. The deeper the green the more valuable they are said to be, used in the jewellery of Royal families and people of great importance all over the world, the green emerald is a striking jewel. The word emerald is also widely used, Ireland is often referred to, especially in America, as the "Emerald Isle" due to its green and lush countryside, and of course there is the emerald City in L. Frank Baum’s ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’.

So, green is an important, much-loved and widely used colour, we encounter it in many forms each and every day, the way we perceive it however, may not be quite so obvious!

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