P is for Purple #AtoZChallenge

Posted April 18, 2015 in A-Z Challenge / 4 Comments

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 ‘P’ I have chosen the colour Purple. Purple is the colour you get when you mix red and blue, but it can describe many different shades, including violet, heliotrope, lavender and lilac. One of it’s main claims to fame is that it doesn’t have any true rhymes.

Keep reading to discover the symbolism behind this colour, read about the novel The Color Purple by Alice Walker and see one of my favourite poems.


Purple symbolises luxury, magic, mystery, extravagance, creativity, femininity and intuition. It’s also associated with royalty and is still worn by the British royal family on special occasions and ceremonies. In China, purple represents spiritual awareness, physical and mental healing, strength and abundance, whereas in Japan it represents privilege and wealth and in Thailand it’s a colour of mourning.

Purple was one of the colours of the women’s suffrage movement in the 20th Century and during the 60s and 70s it was associated with psychedelic drugs and music, such as ‘Purple Haze’ by Jimi Hendrix and the band Deep Purple. Like lavender, purple is sometimes associated with the LGBT movement.

Complementary colours: Orange/Yellow

Plants and flowers: Heliotrope, lavender, hydrangeas, Gladiolus ‘Gates of Paradise’, Purple Allium, Viola, Geranium pratense “Summer Skies”, Rosa ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, purple tulips, pansies, Clematis ‘Crystal Fountain’, wisteria, fuchsia, crocuses, aster, delphiniums, iris germinica, veronica, wisteria.
Animals: Purple-crowned fairy wrens, Plumbeous Water Redstart birds, Lilac Breasted Roller bird, Costa’s Hummingbird, some starfish, Brazilian Pinkbloom Tarantula, Violet Snail, some beetles, some fish (including seahorses and purple queenfish), certain types of coral eg. purple gorgonian, some frogs, lavender finch, purple sea urchin

Foods: Blueberry macarons, some sweets eg M&Ms, blueberry icecream, purple yams, red grapes, beetroot, eggplants/aubergines,

Book Spotlight: The Color Purple

The Color Purple by Alice Walker is one of my favourite books. It’s set in the American Deep South in the 1930s and addresses various issues, including the treatment of both women and people of colour. It’s not a light-hearted read. Throughout the novel, women are seen as property, and marriage as a trade. The main character, Celie is abused both physically and psychologically by almost all the men in her life. One of her husbands, Albert, says to her: “You black, you pore, you ugly, you a woman. Goddam, […] you nothing at all”.

The novel has many sad and shocking parts, but Celie never lets her situation break her spirits. She remains hopeful that things will get better and always manages to see the good in everything and keep her faith in God. I really admire that about her. 

Purple is mentioned a few times throughout the novel. Firstly, when Celie goes shopping for a dress she wants something ‘queen-like’, that she thinks her glamorous friend Shug Avery would wear, but the store is out of purple. It represents a luxury that she feels she can’t attain and doesn’t deserve. But later Celie gains much more confidence and begins to enjoy a life full of joy and colour. Purple becomes a symbol for the beauty of creatuon. The most famous quote from the novel is something Shug says to Celie when they are talking about God:

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. […]People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”

The Color Purple

‘When I Am Old’ by Jenny Joseph

I couldn’t let a Purple-themed post go by without sharing this gem of a poem:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me,
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals,
and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
And run my stick along the public railings,
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens,
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
Or only bread and pickle for a week,
And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats
and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
And pay our rent and not swear in the street,
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me
are not too shocked and surprised,
When suddenly I am old
and start to wear purple!

This poem always makes me think of appreciating the little things in life and having the confidence to be who you are without worrying about what people think of you.

My Purple Polyvore Creations

Effie Trinkett

Do you like the colour purple? Have you read the novel or seen the film? What do you think of the poem?

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4 responses to “P is for Purple #AtoZChallenge

  1. Annalisa Crawford

    I read The Color Purple at school, and thought it was wonderful – even after having to write several essays on it. I love the poem too – I’d love to be just like that when I’m old!

    Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

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