What Do The Colors You Wear Mean In Different Countries?

by Lindsay Shapka in , , , ,

Did you know that your clothing is sending a message?

When you are traveling and meeting new people, first impressions matter — we determine whether people are trustworthy, attractive, friendly, and even intelligent by the way that they look every single day.

But what if you could manipulate the impression you are putting out there based on the color that you are wearing?

Well, guess what? You can.

We all make snap judgments about other people based on what they are wearing, but a lot of that could be based on the color of their clothing — whether you realize it or not! And, the meanings change depending on what country you are in!

To help you pack for your next trip (and make sure you aren’t sending the wrong message), here are the various meanings behind different colors.

What Does Red Mean?

  • In Western cultures, this is the color of passion, love, fire, energy, aggression, action and danger. It is an intense color that draws people in and conveys a bit of mystery.

  • In Russia, red is associated with communism and revolution.

  • In Asian countries, this color represents prosperity, celebration, good luck, and happiness.

  • India associated red with purity and spirituality — brides in India wear red, as do brides in Nepal.

  • When used with white, it is a color that represents religion in Mexico.

  • In some countries in Africa red is associated with death.

  • It is considered lucky or to mean good fortune in Egypt and Iran.

What Does Blue Mean?

This is considered to be the safest color choice, as for the most part it is associated with positivity!

  • In North America and Europe, this color evokes a feeling of sincerity, trust, wisdom, and confidence. It is the color of the sea and sky and has a calming effect.

  • In the Middle East, Turkey, and Greece, it is associated with healing and evil repellence you (if you have travelled in any of these areas you have probably seen the blue, eye shaped amulets meant to repel evil).

  • It is associated with good health in the Ukraine.

  • In Indian culture it is the color of Krishna, who embodies love and divine joy.

  • Blue is a feminine color in China.

  • In Central and South America, which has a high Catholic population, it is associated with religion as it is the color of the Virgin Mary’s clothing.

What Does Purple Mean?

  • In most of the world, purple is considered a royal color that conveys power, wealth, and extravagance — think royal robes, rockstar’s clothing, buddhist monk’s robes, Catholic priest’s robes. It is associated with dignity and wisdom —the Purple Heart in the American military.

  • In Thailand and Brazil, purple is associated with pouring and death.

  • In Tibet, a lighter shade of purple is considered sacred and so rosaries are often made from amethyst.

What Does Orange Mean?

  • In the United States, orange is associated with energy and sunshine, autumn, harvest, and warmth — full of enthusiasm and happiness.

  • In Hinduism saffron (a soft orange color) is considered auspicious and sacred, and so is usually the color of monk’s robes.

  • In Japan, orange represents love and courage.

  • In the Netherlands orange symbolizes the Dutch Royal family, and is also associated with their sports teams.

  • In the Middles East, this color is associated with mourning and loss.

What Does Yellow Mean?

  • In North America and most of Europe and the Middle East, because yellow is the color of sunshine, it is associated with joy and happiness. But, while warm and attention-grabbing, it is also considered a childish color that evokes instability and spontaneity rather than stability and safety.

  • In Germany, yellow represents envy.

  • Because members of the ruling class tend to wear yellow in Eastern and Asian cultures, it is considered sacred. This is similar to many African countries where only people with high rank in society wear yellow.

  • India considers yellow to be the color of commerce.

  • In Latin American countries, yellow is the color used in mourning.

What Does Green Mean?

  • In the West, green is calming and a symbol of nature promoting the idea of growth, freshness, and fertility. Darker greens are associated with money, banking, and power. It can also be associated with jealousy.

  • The color is emblematic for Ireland aka “The Emerald Isle.”

  • In Eastern and Asian cultures is can also represent new life and nature, but it also has negative connotations. It is the color of exorcism and infidelity — in China wearing a green hat means that you have been cheated on!

  • In Mexico, green represents independence.

  • Green is traditionally associated with Islam in the Middle East

What Does White Mean?

  • In the West, this is a color associated with goodness, innocence, cleanliness, and purity, this is the color of perfection. It is also a color used to represent new beginnings, like at a wedding.

  • In Asian countries like China and Korea, white represents death, mourning, and bad luck,

  • In Latin America, white represents peace and purity.

  • In Egypt, wearing white shows that you are of a high-ranking status.

What Does Black Mean?

  • In North America and Europe, this is a very mysterious color. One the one hand, it is associated with death, mourning, and evil. But on the other, it represents power, elegance, sophistication, strength, and prestige.

  • In the Middle East it also can represent both rebirth and mourning.

  • In Africa it is a symbol of maturity and masculinity.

  • In China, black is the color that represents masculinity, wealth, and prosperity.

  • In both Thailand and Tibet it is associated with evil.

  • in Latin America it is also a masculine color and is linked to mourning.

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Quiz: Which Book Should I Read Next?

by Lindsay Shapka in , , , ,

which book should I read next quiz

Is your New Year's resolution to read more? Are you looking for something interesting to read on your next trip? Or, have you just finished a book and want to try something new? 

Take our quiz below to see which book you should read next! 

Looking for more great ideas?

Check out The Anthrotorian's Book Reviews in 25 words or less! (Tip: If you click the book title, it will take you to the full review.) 

Reads For The Road: "The Improbability of Love" by Hannah Rothschild

by Lindsay Shapka in , , , ,

When Annie finds and purchases a small, dingy painting hiding in the corner of a junky antique shop, she has no idea that it is about to expose her to some of Europe's darkest secrets — if you are hunting for the perfect beach read that is smart, entertaining, and well-written I've found it! 

Don't let the title of this book fool you (I was almost fooled), The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild is not a sappy romance. Though there is a romantic element running through the book, the title is actually the name of the painting that various storylines in the novel revolve around.

With a focus on Annie who, by no choice of her own, is single and living alone in London, the narrative is beautifully woven around the lives of multiple different fascinating characters who all play a part in the re-discovery of a famous work of art. The story will take you into the minds of these characters, who are all going through some major life changes, and into the depths of London's secret art and auction-house world. 

Rothschild is a talented writer who does a great job of creating complex and unique identities for her characters — there are one or two in this book that I would love to meet! 

And, of course, there is a travel element in the story, which offers some beautiful descriptions of one of my favourite parts of travelling — spontaneity and the realization that there are so many different ways to live in the world. 

The chatter of boys playing cricket in the street drifted up through the open window; a tea seller called out; strange birds rose above the honking cars and bicycle bells; a broom scraped rhythmically in the passage outside her room. Annie lay there, her mind blank and her emotions strangely abated. This abandonment of time felt almost wicked; a new and entirely foreign thought occurred to her — perhaps there were other ways to live.
— page 142 of "The Improbability of Love"

It is definitely a page-turning work, and a lovely summertime indulgence!

The Eruv Wire: Did You Know That There's An Invisible Wire Hanging Above Manhattan?

by Lindsay Shapka in , , ,

Nope, that web of wires you might notice above your head while wandering through Manhatten are not all for carrying electricity. 

There are actually 18 miles(!) of translucent wire that run throughout the borough called an eruv. The eruv (or eruvin) is there because of the Jewish Sabbath. A day of rest in the Jewish tradition, people observing the Sabbath aren't permitted to do any sort of work in public places, which includes carrying things like groceries, laundry, or books. 

What the eruv does is act as a boundary that symbolically transforms the public streets into a private space. What this means is that those observing the Sabbath can carry things, socialize and act as they would at home while within the boundary of the wire, and not break Jewish law!

How cool is that?! 

According to an article in Mental Floss, a rabbi inspects the wires every Thursday before dawn to ensure they are still attached. The wires are all a quarter-inch thick and must be at least 15 ft off the ground. Orthodox synagogues pay to maintain the wires, which can cost more than $100,000 a year!  

The location of the eruvin wires in Manhattan (  source  ) 

The location of the eruvin wires in Manhattan (source

Manhatten isn't the only city where there is an eruv — they can also be found in cities all over the world. Check out the full list of where they are located here

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The History of The Swedish Dala Horse

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,

Have you seen those white and black wooden horses you can get at Ikea?

You know the ones — they are next to the vases and fake flowers, right before you hit the warehouse area.

Ya, those ones.

Well, it turns out that they are actually called Dala Horses, and they are an important part of Swedish history and culture. 

The Story

In the 17th century and early 18th century, men working in the forest in the Dalarna region during long, cold evenings began carving small wooden horses to bring home for their children to play with.

They were unpainted and simple but soon became treasured objects. 

As they started to become more popular, and visitors to the towns in the region wanted to buy them, villagers started to paint them in bright colours and patterns inspired by what was painted on furniture and walls in the region at the time.

Entire families started working on carving and painting these Dala horses (Dalahast in Swedish), and they soon became one of the official symbols of Sweden. 

The Dala horse became internationally recognized when a giant red one was placed outside the Swedish pavilion during the World Exhibition in New York in 1939. The year after the exhibition, there was such a demand from consumers in the city that more than 20,000 Dala horses were shipped over to America and sold in stores! 

Now, almost every Swedish home will have a Dala horse somewhere, whether displayed on a shelf or tucked away.

While red is the most common colour, you will also find horses in white, green, blue and black. They are still handmade and can be found for sale all over the country (not just at Ikea), and range in size, detail, and price (some are worth hundreds of dollars!). 

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Why Teaching English as a Second Language Isn't Easy

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,

1 bow
verb 1 to submit or yield to something or somebody. 2 (also + down) to bend the head, body or knee in respect, submission, or greeting.

Teaching Notes: Explain to the class that when they greet their teacher or someone older than them they ‘bow’ to say hello or to show respect.

2 bow
noun 1 a weapon for shooting arrows, consisting of a strip of wood, fiberglass, or other flexible material held bent by a strong cord connecting the two ends. 2  a knot that can be pulled undone, tied with two loops and two free ends, used for shoelaces etc. 3 an implement for playing a violin, etc consisting of a resilient wooden rod with horsehairs stretched from end to end.

Teaching Notes: Do the action of holding a ‘bow’ to shoot an arrow, draw a picture if necessary, and mention Legolas from Lord of the Rings. Point to someone’s tied shoelaces and explain that anything that looks like that is a ‘bow’, be it on a dress, in your hair or on a gift. Mimic the action of playing a violin and explain that the long skinny piece you use to play the strings is the ‘bow’.

Despite the fact that my sole purpose for going to South Korea was to teach, I hadn’t really ever thought of myself as being a real teacher. I had my Bachelor of Arts in English and so was more qualified than some (you just needed a degree, any degree, to teach English in South Korea at the time), but I had never been professionally trained in the teaching trade. Taking over a high-level vocabulary course in my first month, I realized that teaching English was going to be a lot more real than I had ever imagined.

Never needing to speak anything but English, I didn’t have an appreciation of how challenging learning it as a second language could be until I spent half of a vocabulary class filling up three chalkboards with notes. My blocky writing and sketchy pictures were scrawled across the three walls in an attempt to explain the multiple definitions, uses, and examples of a single three-letter word.

*   *   *   *   *

3 bow
verb 1a to bend or curve, or cause to bend into a curve b (also + down) to weigh down or oppress.

Teaching Notes: Explain that where I live, we get a lot of snow in the winter and it sits on the roofs of our houses. If the snow is too wet, it gets heavy and if the roof is not strong, it will start to sink and bend in the middle. This is called a ’bow’ in the roof. Draw a picture of a ‘bowed’ roof to further illustrate this definition.

4 bow  
noun 1 the forward part of a ship

Teaching Notes: Draw a picture of a ship and point to the front. Clarify that all sides of the ship have names, but they do not need to know the names at this time.

*   *   *   *   *

One of the biggest challenges that came with teaching vocabulary was having to carefully pick and choose the words that I used in my explanations to ensure that my students would understand them. I didn’t want to have to spend valuable time explaining the meaning of a word that I was using to explain the meaning of a word. I had also been warned not to use idioms when teaching my Korean students because they would not understand me. 

I often found myself holding my breath after writing an especially long or difficult definition, hoping that instead of looks of confusion, I would turn from the whiteboard and see their eyes light up and their heads nodding, uttering, “Ahhhhh…ok, ok” in understanding.

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10 Ways To Be Like A New Yorker On The Streets Of NYC

by Lindsay Shapka in , , ,

1. Buy a coffee, then buy another one

You can't walk more than half a block in any direction without coming across a coffee shop. And, I'm not just talking about chains. There are specialty cafes all over the city, and you will rarely see a New Yorker without a coffee in hand.

2. Walk everywhere

Traffic in Manhattan is basically never-ending gridlock, which means that it is usually faster to walk, well, pretty much everywhere. Plus, it gives you a chance to scope out restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and get in some great people watching. 

3. Don't wait at crosswalks

Better yet, unless you are on a main road, don't even use them. In NYC, it seems that the red hand telling you not to walk is more of a suggestion than anything else and, unless a car is speeding through an intersection right at you, someone will be walking across it. 

4. Invest in comfortable shoes

Since you are going to be walking everywhere, there is no point in wearing high heels or shoes that pinch. So take them off and throw them in your bag to change into at your destination, or forgo them altogether and invest in some stylish, comfortable flats.

5. Wear headphones with a microphone

Drown out the noise of the city with your favourite tunes, while also being ready to answer your phone on your morning commute. With space on the sidewalks limited during peak hours, there is actually a huge benefit to being able to keep your arms by your side rather than having to hold a phone near your ear. 

6. Carry an umbrella

Being so close to the ocean means that weather changes fast in Manhattan, so making sure you have an umbrella with you will save you from having to jump in a cab or spend time in a cafe to wait out a storm.

7. Don't be startled by noise

Drivers seem to talk to each other through the use of incessant honking, there is construction every few blocks, and throngs of people chatting on their phones surround you. There is no escaping it, so embrace it and get used to it. (And try not to jump every time someone honks their horn.)

8. Wear what you want

Don't let fashion blogs or past episodes of Sex and The City trick you (I got tricked), the streets of NYC aren't swarming with incredibly fashionable people that look like they stepped out of the pages of Vogue and will make you feel like an ugly troll. They are actually filled with people wearing what they want, whether it's a velour tracksuit, a vintage dress, or a power suit (though, there did seem to be a disproportionate amount of businessmen wearing blue shirts the last time I was there).

9. Take advantage of every inch of outside space

Coffee carts set up shop on medians running in the middle of the road, the smallest of spaces are turned into parks, people perch on the edges of fountains, and tiny patios appear outside of restaurants in the warmer months. On an island where space is at a premium, every inch of it is used, which means that there are some pretty cool spots for you to stumble upon while walking around the city. 

10. Give Zero F#$ks

Now let me clarify. This doesn't mean that New Yorkers are rude and don't care about anyone. What this means is that they don't seem to take anything personally or be too judgemental of the people around them. You're walking down the street and someone bumps into you? Who cares. Is a cab honking when you're in a crosswalk? Don't speed up, feel insulted, or get annoyed, just keep walking like you heard nothing. Wear what you want, be who you want, walk where you want — as long as it directly preventing anyone from living their lives, no one cares!