Blue hour

One of the best occasions for taking city photos is when the sun is disappearing on the horizon or when it hasn’t appeared yet. The sky is blazing in the most beautiful shades of blue, the orange lights of the city have just been lit or they are still on. Plenty of this kind of photos can be found on the internet. Almost every second findings of the search word ‘Budapest’ were made during the ‘blue hour’. The blue colour of the sky is caused by the atmospheric light dissemination; without the atmosphere the sky would be black.

Skoflek István diaképei - Kuny Domokos Múzeum, CC BYThe blue of waters is caused partly by the reflection of the blue sky, but mainly by the selective light absorption. Thus, in great thickness the colour of waters would be blue even without the blue sky, for example in case of oceans, seas and lakes. The blue colour has a multi-layered symbolism: you can associate it to calmness, peace, wisdom, truth, faithfulness. Associations with light blue shades might be completely different from the case of dark blue shades. The former is related to notions like: life, peace and understanding, while the latter is connected to knowledge, strength and honour. The analogy can be seen in the colour selection of two big international organisations’ icons too. A lighter blue is chosen on the flag and logo of the UNO, while the dark blue dominates the flag of the NATO, but other armed forces also use the darker shades of blue, for example the police. Blue symbolises godliness and certitude in blazonry. The blue ring of the Olympic rings stands for Europe, and the flag of the European Union is also mainly blue. The flag was made for the European Council originally, designed by Strasbourgian artist Arsène Heitz. The Council accepted it in 1955 for the Irish heraldist Gerard Slevin’s suggestion, but since then it is considered as the symbol of whole Europe, not just of the EU.

Szoknya - Herman Ottó Múzeum, CC BY-NC-NDIn the Hungarian folk art, blue is the second most important colour after red, which is not surprising if you think of blue-dyed clothes. This technique appeared in Upper Hungary in the 17th century. The blue-dyeing process is based on the so-called printing method. It means that they coat a wooden plate with a kind of material that does not allow the textile to absorb paint on that part of the surface, which results small but detailed patterns on the textile. Vegetable paint, primarily indigo was used as colouring material. Blue is still a frequent colour in wardrobes; experts of the topic recommend wearing blue on certain occasions. A blue shirt or blouse worn during a job interview might influence positively your knowledge in the eyes of the partner sitting in front of you.

Marketing experts do not recommend the blue colour dominating on advertising materials of food and provisions, because the blue reduces appetite. In case of cleaning supplies and technology companies, it is warmly recommended, because it makes you associate to cleanness (due to the clear blue colour of water) in the former and to intelligence in the latter case.

Máter Amabilis - Rippl-Rónai Megyei Hatókörű Városi Múzeum, CC BYMentioning the blue colour and cleanness, there is also a sacral layer about the connection of the two notions. During the Early Christian Era, the use of gold and blue colours referred to the divine sphere. As of the Early Middle Ages, the blue gown on the portrayals of the Virgin Mary became usual, meaning her heavenly glory and mercifulness.

The Countrywide Blue Tour across Kékestető (meaning ‘Blue Top’) the highest point in Hungary, or the Blue Ribbon Round the Lake Balaton Race on the blue waves of Balaton. The cold blue is usually used for foreshadowing frightful things in horror movies and thrillers. Blue eyes are due to a genetic mutation that happened 6-10 thousand years ago. Did you know? Scientists explored a new blue colour that hadn’t been seen before accidentally in 2009.


Translated by Zita Aknai


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