What does black symbolize?

Published: 11-07-2023

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Black is the darkest of all colors. Its intensity makes it overwhelming for many people and evokes very strong emotions, usually negative ones. In American and European culture, the color black symbolizes sadness and death. In other cultures, it has many different symbolic meanings. What does black symbolize?


Symbolic meaning

In many European countries, black is primarily associated with death. Clothes in this color are worn during the mourning period. In the Christian religion, black is strongly connected with evil and sin. Idioms containing the word “black” also have negative connotations. A black market refers to an economic activity that involves people buying and selling goods illegally. The term “black sheep” is understood to mean a member of a group who behaves differently from the rest, and is considered disreputable by the other members of the group. The color black was commonly associated with bad luck and danger. It was believed that meeting a black cat brings bad luck, and meeting a black dog heralds death.


Black in other cultures

The color black is perceived in a slightly different way in different regions and communities. In Japan, black symbolizes not only mystery and death, but also a great deal of experience. As such, in East-Asian martial arts, masters wear the black belt. In some African cultures, black is identified with maturity and masculinity. In China, the color black symbolizes water. According to Chinese tradition, black clothes are mainly worn by young boys. The positive meaning of this color is noticed by the Native Americans, for whom black is a symbol of life.


Practical application

In the 20th century, black became the color of power, elegance and luxury. A black suit and a white shirt are considered the chicest things a man can wear. Black jacket and black trousers always make a man look more responsible and trustworthy. Due to its association with good taste and style, black is both traditional and modern. Wearing black clothes is advised to people who want to look slimmer than they really are. A black background makes other colors pop.


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