Here’s a fun fact – nobody has blue eyes. One of the stranger quirks of science. Our eyes have three layers. Any layer can have a colour pigment in it. People with blue eyes have a dark brown pigment in the back layer. The middle layer has small particles suspended in it, particles that scatter blue light. Some of these particles scatter this blue light toward the back of the eye, where it is absorbed by the brown pigments, and some of the particles move toward the outside of the eye. Hence why some people appear to have blue eyes even though there is no blue pigment in the human eye. Our eyes get darker the older we get because the particles in the middle layer get bigger and start scattering the white light, just like when the blue sky goes whitish-grey when it fills up with massive water molecules during a storm. You see? Blue is fascinating…
Blue eyes are most common in Europe and Western Asia. 99% of Estonians are said to have blue eyes, whilst Germany, unsurprisingly, has that figure as high as 75%. Only 17% of Americans have blue eyes, a number that is decreasing each new year.
Studies have shown that blue is the most popular colour, on average, in America and Europe, with almost half of men and women saying it is their favourite colour. It’s often associated with cold, confidence, distance, faithfulness, harmony, imagination, infinity and sometimes sadness. In China, it’s often associated with death, ghosts and torment, whilst in Central Asia and Turkey, it’s the colour of mourning.
The colour is hugely popular around the world, with many sports teams using it as their primary colour. It also appears on a remarkable 61 country flags from around the world.
In Germany, ‘to be blue’ is to be drunk. It’s thought the saying derives from the practice of using the urine of drunken men in dyeing cloth blue. Germany also gave us ‘to look upon the world with a blue eye’, describing someone who is rather naïve.
Brides are encouraged to wear ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’, an idiom popular in the UK, the country it originated from. The idiom is a sign of faithfulness and loyalty. Blue sapphire engagement rings are also hugely popular in the UK.
Nowadays, the colour blue is often associated with boys, but in the early 1900s, it was most associated with girls, with pink the most associated colour with boys. The thinking was that the Virgin Mary is often portrayed in blue. Back then, religion was much more prevalent in the western world. As for pink for boys, it was considered similar to the colour red, a masculine colour.
And Smarties, like M&Ms but much older and nicer, were at the centre of a blue controversy in 2006. They were ordered to remove all artificial colourings from their chocolate sweets but couldn’t find a natural alternative to blue. Thus the end of blue Smarties had arrived, being replaced with white ones. But, in 2008, seaweed came to the rescue. A natural blue was found in spirulina, a seaweed. Yes, chocolate seaweed. So that’s what you’re eating when you eat one of the blue Smarties…
Yes, this is a gorgeous colour, one with an eclectic and colourful history.
What are my thoughts on blue? It is utterly wonderful…
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