December 2nd, 2006

View from study (sunny)

Unlucky green?

poliphilo is talking here about the superstition that green is unlucky.

I'm actually a bit doubtful about the link between green and the fairies as an explanation for the ill luck association. It certainly doesn't apply to Welsh fairies, anyway. The only colour specifically mentioned with regard to fairy clothing in the Welsh folklore books I have is red, which is the colour of the coats worn by fairy men. Like poliphilo, I think the ban on the Irish wearing green is a more likely origin. Especially as many Irish went to live in Manchester, where the superstition about green was common.

And, just to offer a counter-example to tamnonlinear's suggestion in the comments that green is linked with a jilted woman, mevennen has just posted here about use of coloured ribbons amongst spinners.

I think the real problem here is that customs are often regional, so it's not possible to say that any given meaning is widely understood.

For what it's worth, I love green. I'm actually wearing a green top right now. When I was young, it used to be very difficult to find green clothes because it was considered an unlucky colour in the North West of England. It's not a problem now, though it often isn't called "green" but "forest", "parrot", "olive", "bright meadow" or "leaf". I have no idea whether this is anything to do with the stigma attached to green or whether it's just the marketing department getting creative. *g*

Just off to Land's End to order a "golden olive" skirt...
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