The Colour Purple

I don’t know if anyone has noticed recently, but purple seems to be having a moment.
Making a comeback.
Singer Michael Buble’s entire suit, shirt and tie was purple in his most recent Christmas special.
As are the ties, scarves and shirts of various news anchors, reporters, television hosts.
Purple is indeed having a moment.
Perhaps it never went away.
Perhaps it has always been lurking around us, popping up here and there.
But now, now it is centre stage.
In the limelight.
Perhaps it is an unconscious nod to the late Queen Elizabeth II who passed away in September.
A tribute, a royal recognition, to the monarch who is now gone.
Purple, after all, is a royal colour.
Once only worn by royalty or nobility, mere heathens and peons were forbidden from donning it, lest off with their heads!
Perhaps because it was so expensive to create.
When purple was first discovered centuries and centuries ago, it was created from the mucous of a certain type of snail.
Boiled down to a gorgeous hue, and then used as dye for those who could afford it.
And those weren’t the likes of you and me.
No, only royalty and those of the definitive upper crust and nobility could afford it and wear it.
By the turn of the century, however, it had been discovered that the colour could be created synthetically, and then all bets were off.
Everyone was wearing purple.
All tints and shades, light and dark.
Mauve was discovered by accident when a science student was trying to discover something else.
It too became a favourite colour, worn by Queen Victoria to a special gala back in 1862, and the rest, as they say, is history.
It is a colour that demands attention; not your average primary colour or, heaven forbid, the ever bland beige, white or black.
And the fact that the colour purple is created out of two colours, red and blue, has leant it towards symbolizing collaboration and coalition, working together for the greater good, and has been adopted by some political parties for that very reason.
But because it is created out of passionate red and calming blue has also meant it can represent two sided-ness, or yin and yang, opposites, conflict.
It is a colour not found in nature too much; the odd flower, including the fragrant lilac, clematis, coneflower and pansy, but few birds or animals. Understandably, as it attracts attention – and that is something that prey animals do not tend to want.
It is the colour of amethyst, a semi-precious gemstone meaning healing, calmness and wisdom. (And now the official gemstone of the province of Ontario! It is also mined in the province’s northwest).
Purple is also the colour of the Crown chakra – associated with a connection to a higher power.
And has been designated by the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association as the flower colour of the year in 2023!
It is not surprising that purples and all of its tints and shades, including pinks, were the favourite colours of my late mum.
My mum’s favourite chocolates were the ones wrapped in purple cellophane inside the iconic hexagonal tin of Quality Street, also in an trademark purple colour.
A quick glance around my own home finds there are many objects that are purple: a jar of night cream, and the cream inside, (am I putting snail mucuous on my face?), much of the jewellery on my makeup table, (yes, most of the necklaces, brooches and bracelets are from my mum), many blouses, sweaters and tops, many other beauty product containers including shampoos, body lotions, shower gels, a wristwatch I just purchased with a pale mauve strap and second hand, an eye shadow that has now become my favourite base colour, and numerous nail polishes, mostly inherited from my mum, my new cell phone case, and the lock screen background.
At the grocery store, the latest batch of fabric grocery bags is a pale mauve.
And it has replaced some of the surgical gloves and masks previously in medical blue – now medical mauve.
It is everywhere you look – and I am not just saying that.
In fact, they are even remaking the movie entitled The Colour Purple. The original, with Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg was a classic. I don’t know why they called it that, perhaps because of all the bruising that was happening. But anyways, I look forward to the new version.
Yes, purple is having a moment.
And I am loving it.
It is a reminder and a tribute to my late mum, and always fills me with warm fuzzies as it makes me think of her whenever I see it.
I know she is smiling down, and is perhaps behind all the purple I am seeing around me these days.
Even as she now rests in her pearlescent lavender urn on the rolltop desk in my office, beside a purple tin of her favourite Quality Street chocolates, and surrounded by many other things that she loved.
So, here’s to the comeback colour of the year, and to all things purple!

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