Skip to Content

Colors of the Rainbow and Their Meanings in Different Cultures

In today’s article, we’ll talk about the colors of the rainbow and this natural phenomenon’s meanings in different cultures.

Rainbow colors have different meanings depending on who you ask.

It could just be a magical, colorful arc that sometimes appears in the sky for a child. In contrast, another person may see a rainbow as a sign that something good is about to happen. 

Members of the LGBT+ community use it in the Pride Flags to symbolize pride and their values.

Colors are a very fascinating part of our lives. Besides the effects color psychology teaches, they are believed to carry energies that can affect our mood, health, and personality.

Not only that, but they can change your emotions based on associations our species has been making for thousands of years.

It gets even more exciting and mystical when you have seven distinct colors in an arc up in the sky. That’s why different people, including philosophers and creatives, have ascribed different meanings to the rainbow.

This article discusses the rainbow colors meanings in different cultures and religions. We will also look at the colors of the rainbow, their characteristics, and what they represent in the Chakra system. Let’s get to it!

Colors of the rainbow meaning chart
Colors of the rainbow meaning chart

Copy the unaltered code below to use this infographic on your site. Otherwise, no rights of use will be granted. Thanks!

<img src="https://www.colorsexplained.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/rainbow-colors-meanings-chart.jpg" alt="Rainbow Colors Meaning chart by Bruna Venturinelli" width="1080px" border="0"><small>Source: Colors Explained, <a href="https://www.colorsexplained.com/colors-of-the-rainbow-colors-meanings/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">rainbow colors meaning</a></small>

What is a Rainbow?

A rainbow is a beautiful natural phenomenon that fascinates many people. It’s a colorful effect that usually forms in the sky after rainfalls.

A rainbow comes in the form of an arch and has seven spectral colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, often shortened as ROYGBIV or Roy G Biv, in which each letter stands for the first letter of the color names.

These colors are part of the electromagnetic spectrum that human eyes can see.

According to scientific facts, rainbow colors are formed by the dispersion and refraction of the sun’s light by rain.

Sometimes, it forms when water droplets are present in the atmosphere, but you can also make a rainbow using a garden hose on a sunny day.

Meanwhile, the colors in the rainbow are not only fascinating but also have religious and philosophical significance.

Rainbow at Iguazu Falls, Brazil
Rainbow at Iguazu Falls, Brazil

In many religions and cultures, rainbow colors carry meanings. The colors in the rainbow are also associated with many things, including the chakra color system, the angel colors, the days of the week, and the aura colors.

There is more to the colors of the rainbow than meets the eye.

Furthermore, rainbow colors carry specific energy, have a particular frequency range, and have different wavelengths. The order of the rainbow is determined by the number of light reflections inside the water droplets that created it.

Primary rainbows involve a single reflection inside the water droplets, while secondary rainbows involve two reflections. Although it’s rare, light can reflect 3-4 times in one water droplet.

There are also different types of rainbows, including the fogbow, which forms when sunlight passes through a fog/cloud, and the Lunar rainbow, which appears on a lit-up moon during a lunar month.

Rainbow Colors in Different Religions and Cultures

One cannot talk about rainbow colors meanings without referencing the rich histories of some religions and cultures.

It’s not a secret the meaning of the rainbow colors differs from culture to culture. While some believe they are a sign of good fortune and miracle, others believe they are negative symbols.

The Rainbow in Religion

White dove and colors of the rainbow against a blue sky

In the Bible, the rainbow was mentioned a few times, and it’s believed to be a message from God, a sign of hope.

This rainbow Bible meaning came into existence when the rainbow arch appeared to Noah after the flood signifying God’s promise never to destroy the earth by flood again.

Also, there is a term called the Angels Color, and some Christians use it to focus on their prayers. It is believed that some people have the gifts to see beyond the physical part of the rainbow.

They can see the metaphysical part of the rainbow, which consists of angels sent to earth by God.

In Islam, the rainbow colors have only four colors blue, green, red, and yellow, and they represent water, earth, fire, and wind. Ancient people of Serbia believed that the rainbow was the Storm God’s bow.

Some Buddhists believe the seven rainbows represent the seven regions of the earth.

The Rainbow in Different Cultures

Watercolor rainbow colors

Some rainbow color meanings are almost similar in certain cultures.

For example, the native Americans, Japanese, and Hawaiian interpret the rainbow as a bridge. This bridge serves as a path to the afterlife, and some Maori and French traditions also hold the same belief.

In Norse Mythology, this bridge stretches from Earth to Asgard and can only be used by gods. The bridge also has some Heimdall guards to prevent the invasion of giants or demons.

Roman also has a similar culture that believes the rainbow is a bridge taken by Mercury, the messenger god.

In West Africa, the Ewe people believe there’s a god of the rainbow, Anyievo.

Similarly, the Shoshoni of North America has a story of a rainbow snake that scratches its back against the sky and dislodges pieces of ice so that it precipitates.

Semang people of Malaysia also believe it to be the great world-snake of which the rainbow is believed to be the visible portion.

In Aboriginal Australia, the rainbow is a snake that controls rain and monsoons by sucking up water.

However, some Mojave people in Arizona believe that a mighty storm ends with the appearance of a rainbow.

Irish pot of gold and rainbow colors

Some people in Poland and Ireland believe the rainbow is a sign of luck, and they will get pots of gold or luck at the end of the rainbow.

In some Germanic beliefs, a rainbow can’t appear 40 years before the end of the world, so the sight of a rainbow reassures hope in human existence.

In Peruvian Amazonian culture, rainbows are associated with evil spirits that cause miscarriages.

Also, the Mayans believe rainbows bring bad luck and diseases because they are flatulence of the demons.

However, in some variations, the rainbow appeared to some Mayans after they escaped the destruction of the earth by rain. The rainbow was a sign that their gods were no longer angry with them.

Colors of the rainbow in brush strokes

Rainbow Facts

Some facts about rainbow colors include;

  • The reason why you see a double rainbow is that the light is reflected twice in the raindrop.
  • Rainbow was derived from the word ‘renboga,’ ‘regn’ meaning ‘rain,’ and ‘bogan meaning ‘something bent or arched.’
  • A rainbow is an optical illusion, so you can’t see the end of the arch.
  • You can only see the rainbow as an arc if you are looking from the ground. However, If you are viewing it from an airplane by looking down below, you may see the rainbow as a complete circle.
  • The famous Greek Poet Homer believed the rainbow was made of one color, and that’s purple.
  • In the 17th century, some Western cultures thought the rainbow had four colors (red, blue, green, and yellow) until 1665 when Isaac Newton included indigo and violet to give seven colors.
  • Although it’s generally believed that a rainbow has seven colors, science believes the hues in a rainbow blend with the next, so there’s no set number of colors in a rainbow. It all depends on who’s seeing it.
  • An average rainbow lasts less than one hour, but the longest observed rainbow lasted for about nine hours in the sky in Sheffield, England.
  • Rainbow has no physical appearance; it’s an optical illusion, so you cannot touch it.
  • Rainbows only appear on Planet Earth.
  • Hawaii is home to more rainbows than any other area on earth.

Meaning of the Rainbow Colors

Red

Red, a primary color, symbolizes passion and vitality. Not only that, but red is a warm color with the longest wavelength on the rainbow.

The red arc of the rainbow in Christianity resembles Archangel Uriel and represents energy and wisdom.

In Buddhism/Hinduism, rainbow red is associated with the Muladhara Chakra or the red chakra which grounds humans to the physical realm.

Orange

The color orange is the combination of red and yellow, and it is the second arc of the rainbow.

This color signifies creativity, playfulness, and enthusiasm, and in the chakra system, it represents Swadhisthana Chakra or orange chakra that is associated with creativity and physical urges.

Furthermore, orange represents Archangel Gabriel.

Yellow

The color yellow is the third color of the arch, the color of the sun. This color is bright and associated with creativity, happiness, and intellect.

The yellow arc of the rainbow relates to the archangel Jophiel, which is associated with brilliance and beautiful thoughts.

In the Chakra system, yellow represents the Manipura or corresponding yellow chakra. This chakra is the seat of man’s ego and personal power, similar to how the sun feeds the earth.

Green

The color green is a lush color that represents growth, fertility, and abundance.

It is the middle color of the rainbow, and it’s associated with the Anahata, the green chakra which is the center of love, compassion, and forgiveness for oneself or others.

Furthermore, green also relates with the Archangel Raphael, who is the angel of healing.

Blue

The color blue is the color of the sky and the oceans. It’s a very calm hue that represents peace, spirituality, and freedom.

It is connected with Vishudda, which is the fifth or blue chakra. This chakra represents the ability to communicate with purity.

In addition, it relates to Archangel Michael, the leader of all the archangels.

Indigo

Indigo is a unique color, the color of the third eye. The color indigo is believed to enhance intuition and psychic abilities.

Indigo represents the bridge between subconscious and consciousness.

Also, in the Chakra system, it is the Ajna or indigo chakra, represented by the third eye and the ability to see beyond the physical realm.

Violet

Violet, interchangeable with purple, is a mix of blue and red, and it carries the characteristics of both colors.

Violet has the highest frequency, and shortest wavelength of the visible spectrum of colors, meaning violet is the last visible color of the pure spectrum.

Violet denotes a high level of spirituality, imagination, and capacity that can ignite one’s mastery. This color is associated with Archangel Zadkiel, who brings Mercy.

Furthermore, it represents the Sahasrara Chakra or purple chakra, which is the point where human consciousness connects with spiritual consciousness.

Did you enjoy this article about the colors of the rainbow? Then share it with your friends!