L is for Lavender and Lilac #AtoZChallenge

Posted April 14, 2015 in Blog Fests & Hops, Fashion & Beauty / 1 Comment

Today I’m continuing with the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m doing an A-Z of Colours. I’ll be doing a variety of posts, including haikus and poems, arts and crafts, fashion and beauty, recipes and more!    

For the letter ‘L’ I have chosen the colours Lavender and Lilac. Both colours are a similar shade of light purple, and are both named after plants. Lilac is slightly more pink toned (like a lighter shade of heliotrope) and lavender is slightly more blue toned (like a lighter shade of violet). This Pinterest board has some lovely examples. 

Keep reading to discover the symbolism behind these colours, see some lilac artwork and learn more about how lavender is linked to the LGBT rights movement.


Both lavender and lilac represent peace, tranquillity, grace, elegance and femininity. Like other variations of purple, they also symbolise spirituality, but can also symbolise decadence. Lavender is also associated with Easter because of the crocus flower, which blooms in the spring.

The Victorians saw lavender and lilac as a sombre, dignified colour and would switch to clothing of this colour after a year of mourning. Today, a lavender ribbon stands for general cancer awareness and is associated with LGBT rights (see below for more info).

Complementary colour: peach/orange

Plants and flowers: Lilacs and lavender (obviously!) , hydrangeas, crocuses, aster, delphiniums, irises, veronica, wisteria, lavender roses.

Animals: Lavender finch, some fish, beetles and insects, lilac-breasted roller birds

Foods: Palma violets, some blueberry flavoured desserts, macarons, purple yams

My Lavender and Lilac Polyvore Creations


Lavender and The LGBT Rights Movement

Lavender has often been associated with the LGBT rights movement. Some people say that it’s because lavender is the colour you get when you mix pink (for girls) and blue (for boys).

Here are some examples:

  • Many gay rights activist groups have ‘lavender’ in the name, for example, Lavender Panthers and the Lavender Greens. 
  • The original gay liberation movement which began in 1969 was known as the ‘lavender revolution’.
  • The fear and persecution of homosexuals in the USA during the 1950s was referred to as the ‘lavender scare’. 
  • The United States Patriots (advocates of gay liberation) pointed out that if you mix red, white and blue, you get lavender.
  • On Valentines Day, lavender roses are sometimes given by LGBTs to each other-they’re also popular at same-sex weddings. 
  • Lavender is the name of a LGBT magazine in Minnesota.
  • A ‘lavender convention’ is a convention of homosexuals.

Lavender and Lilac in 19th Century Art

During the late 19th Century, new pigments such as ‘Cobalt Violet’, ‘Manganese Violet’, ‘Cerulean Blue’, and ‘Mauveine’ became available, which could be used to create various shades of lavender and lilac when mixed with white. However, these pigments were generally expensive and sometimes toxic.

Many painters, such as Eugène Delacroix, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and Georges Seuret, began experimenting with shades of lavender and lilac to capture the subtle effects of light in the sky and shadows.

One of my favourite examples is this beautiful painting by Sophie Gengembre Anderson, called ‘The Time of the Lilacs’.
‘The Time of the Lilacs’, painted by Sophie Gengembre Anderson (1823-1903)

Do you like lavender and lilac? What do they symbolise for you?

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