Last Updated on October 3, 2023
Scarlet color has long been associated with love and passion. But what else does it mean? What is it associated with in different cultures?
If you find yourself wondering about these questions, then you are in the right place!
It can be tricky to find answers to these questions and leaves many of us unsure where to turn and who to trust.
There are many different answers out there, often conflicting, leaving us all a little unsure.
Well, no more! Today we are here with the only guide that you need to find out everything there is to know about the meanings of the color scarlet.
Just keep on reading to find out more.
What Is Scarlet?
Scarlet is a bright, vivid red. However, it also contains elements of orange. It’s one of the most intense of all the colors on the spectrum.
It used to be quite a luxurious color. Nowadays, it is regularly available in clothing.
Now that we have established what the color scarlet is, let’s dive in and look at it and its meanings in closer detail.
What Does Scarlet Mean?
Below we have a list of some of the meanings of Scarlet for you. Keep reading to become a scarlet expert today.
In Western culture, scarlet symbolizes love and passion. This is why love hearts are often colored scarlet.
It is a popular color around Valentine’s Day, a holiday that is focused on celebrating romantic love. Because it is such a vibrant color, scarlet is an appropriate symbolization of love.
In many countries, including India, China, Japan, Korea, and Thailand, scarlet represents good luck and prosperity.
Because of this, scarlet and other shades of red are prominently used in Chinese events to encourage luck.
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In ancient Rome, scarlet was a symbol of blood. The Romans believed that when someone shed their blood, they were showing honor to another person or deity.
They would wear this color as an act of sacrifice. This makes sense given that blood is colored red.
The Greeks considered scarlet to be a sign of death. In the Middle Ages, people wore scarlet clothes during funerals because they thought it made them look more beautiful.
In some societies, scarlet is a symbol of sexual desire. In some places, like China and India, scarlet is a traditional wedding dress color.
This is not only to represent passion but also luck. As a result, these wedding dresses will help people to have a positive and long-lasting relationship.
In the Bible, the color red symbolizes blood. Jesus’ blood was shed in atonement for the sins of humanity.
In the Old Testament, God commanded Israel to make sacrifices of animals whose blood should flow on the altar. These sacrifices were made in scarlet.
Today, people still use scarlet to represent blood. For example, some drink red wine during communion to represent the loss of Jesus’s blood.
Some will consume non-alcoholic wine during this ritual. Alternatively, other scarlet-colored beverages may be drunk instead of wine.
Power And Nobility
In the Middle Ages, scarlet represented power and nobility. During this period, royalty could wear any color they wanted.
However, the lower classes were more limited in the dyes that they could obtain. In Ancient Rome, scarlet and purple were linked with the nobility.
Only those in power could wear these colors. In the 16th century, scarlet was often worn by Queen Elizabeth I.
In ancient Rome, it was associated with Mars, the god of war. The Romans believed that when he was angry, his face turned red.
This made him dangerous. The planet Mars was named after the Roman god. Mars is known for its scarlet color, having been dubbed the “Red Planet.”
The name was given this name because people compared it to the color of blood. Thus, the god of war was an appropriate figure to name it after.
Scarlet has also been used as a color for war uniforms. For example, the British Army wore the color for centuries.
They started this tradition in 1645. Though scarlet uniforms create a bold and noble aesthetic, they may not be the most practical of colors for soldiers.
After all, it is pretty noticeable. Consequently, the British Army abandoned its scarlet uniforms in 1914 when World War I began.
During the French Revolution, revolutionaries would wave scarlet flags to represent the blood of their fallen allies.
In Russia, the Bolsheviks adopted the color red as their official flag color. Scarlet has also been used to represent communism in China.
The link between scarlet and communion resulted in the term “red scare.” This phrase describes the fear of communism spreading.
There were two major red scares. The first occurred after World War I while the second happened right after World War II.
In medieval Europe, students wore robes and hoods in school. These robes were usually colored red.
The color represented the blood of Christ. Students who had done well in class would have their robes embroidered with gold thread.
More recently, red has an important status in academic dress. In the United Kingdom, students who have obtained doctoral degrees will wear scarlet-colored gowns during their graduations.
On scarlet days, doctors of the University of Cambridge will don scarlet robes. Scarlet days are usually special occasions, such as Easter Day.
Meanwhile, in the United States, scarlet is regularly used in relation to theology courses. Contrastingly, France uses scarlet to represent the subject of law.
Another popular association with the color scarlet is the disease called scarlet fever. This illness is caused by bacteria that enter through the nose or throat.
If you develop this illness, you will experience unpleasant symptoms. These may include headaches and sore throats. It can be treated with antibiotics.
The reason why this disease has obtained this name is that it causes the skin or tongue to turn bright red and irritated. This condition is often referred to as a “red rash”.
Several cultural figures are linked to the color scarlet. Moreover, the color is associated with a few literary texts. These include:
In 1850, a novel by the name The Scarlet Letter was published. The text, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is named this because a woman is forced to permanently wear a scarlet-colored “A” as a visual representation of sin.
However, the meaning of this scarlet letter changes as the novel progresses.
The 1887/1888 detective story A Study in Scarlet was released. Written by Arthur Conan Doyle, this tale features the iconic Sherlock Holmes. This was the novel that debuted the famous pairing of Sherlock and Dr. John Watson.
The novel gets its name from a speech in which Sherlock likens the case to “scarlet thread.” There have been several adaptations of A Study In Scarlet across film, television, and radio.
Meanwhile, the color is also associated with The Scarlet Pimpernel, a 1905 novel that began as a play. The book gets its name from the alias of its protagonist.
The Scarlet Pimpernel is the secret identity of Sir Percy Blakeney. He leaves behind a calling card, a flower known as the scarlet pimpernel. The hero has had an important impact on the superhero genre.
Also, this iconic 20th-century text has inspired multiple adaptations and parodies. A 1950 animated short film entitled The Scarlet Pumpernickel featured Daffy Duck parodying the Scarlet Pimpernel.
More recently, a Phineas and Ferb episode parodied the book.
The Marvel Comics character Wanda Maximoff is a superhero who operates under the identity of “Scarlet Witch.” The character wears a scarlet costume and is empowered by reddish energy.
Having first appeared in comics in 1964, Scarlet Witch has gone on to appear in different mediums.
For example, she made her live-action debut in the film Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), in which she was portrayed by Elizabeth Olsen.
Since then, Elizabeth Olsen has continued to portray the character in various films and television series. Scarlet Witch even starred in her television series, entitled Wandavision, in 2021.
In The Natural World
There are a handful of plants and animals that are scarlet shades. Among them are:
- Scarlet rose – often given to lovers during Valentine’s Day. Red roses are symbols of love and passion in many cultures.
- Scarlet ibis – a bird native to South Africa. Its plumage is a brilliant scarlet. Younger birds only have small flecks of red. However, as it ages the plumage of the ibis becomes increasingly scarlet.
- Scarlet macaw – a colorful parrot found in Brazil. It also tends to have blue and yellow feathers, though the scarlet is the most dominant. As a result, scarlet macaws have distinctive appearances.
- Scarlet tanager – a songbird found in North America. It has black and red feathers.
- Sonoran coral snake – this snake has an iconic red, black, and white color scheme. This snake is venomous. Because of that, many interpret its red pattern as a warning. If you ever see this snake, it is recommended that you keep your distance.
Famous People With The Name Scarlet
Aside from being a popular color with lots of connotations, scarlet is also a name. However, it is often spelled as “Scarlett.” There are lots of iconic people with this name, including:
- Scarlett Johansson – American actress, model, singer, and dancer born in 1984. She is one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. Johansson is known for playing Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Her other movies include Ghost World (2001), Lost in Translation (2003), Match Point (2005), and Marriage Story (2019)
- Scarlett O’Hara – this fictional character resulted in the name becoming incredibly popular. Scarlett O’Hara is a female character created by Margaret Mitchell. O’Hara appeared in the novel Gone With the Wind (1936), in which she was the protagonist. A popular movie adaptation of the novel was first released in 1939.
- Scarlett Moffat – this British television presenter was born in 1990 and rose to fame during the TV show Gogglebox.
Effects Of The Color Scarlet
Scarlet is a very powerful color. When used appropriately, it can be a great way to express yourself.
However, when used inappropriately, it can cause problems. Here are some examples of how using red can affect others:
When wearing too much red clothing, it can make you stand out. You may not want to wear all red clothes if you do not want to attract attention.
Too much red can make you feel self-conscious or nervous. There is a theory that says that red makes us more alert because we subconsciously think that something bad might happen.
This is due to the color’s links to blood, death, and danger. Therefore, wearing too much red can increase our anxiety levels.
Because of its associations with blood and war, red can make people angry. After all, some people begin to turn red when they are enraged.
As a result, you may notice yourself or others becoming more aggressive when wearing this shade.
Though this can be useful in some situations, such as when you need to be assertive or if you are boxing, you may want to avoid wearing scarlet if you need to be calm.
Instead, blue may be a more appropriate color.
However, you may want to wear scarlet on dates. The reason why is because red is associated with love.
According to research, women who wear red are seen as more attractive than those who wear other colors.
A similar study found that the same is true of men who wear red clothes. So, if you are looking to impress someone, then you should consider wearing scarlet.
The scarlet shade is analogous with the following personality traits:
Frequently Asked Questions
Get your last-minute questions about scarlet answered here!
What Does The Color Red Mean?
Red is a bright, bold, and energetic color. It represents action, energy, strength, power, and vitality. Red is also an excellent choice for your bedroom. For example, it is a good color for your bedding and curtains.
It can also be used in your home décor. If you have a fireplace, you could use red to decorate it. This is because red is often associated with fire and heat. As a result, red can be used to make your home feel cozy and inviting.
How Do I Wear Scarlet Clothing?
You can wear scarlet clothing in many ways. For instance, you can wear scarlet shirts, dresses, pants, skirts, shoes, jackets, etc.
If you want a less vibrant scarlet color scheme, you should choose red accessories. They will be less noticeable but can still create a sophisticated style.
When donning scarlet, pair it with complementary colors. For instance, it goes well with navy, black, white, and gray.
Red does not go particularly well with green or pink, so you may want to avoid these matches unless you have the perfect ensemble.
You may want to avoid wearing scarlet trousers, as some people have an aversion to them. However, if you want to achieve a bold look, feel free to experiment with them.
Scarlet is a pretty and bold color that can be found in different aspects of life. Hopefully, you now understand the meaning of scarlet and the different connotations it has.
This will allow you to create the ideal atmosphere when using this color in your home or fashion.
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