International Colour Day - March 21
(Last Updated On: March 15, 2023)


Every year on March 21st, International Colour Day celebrates all aspects of colour and the impact it has on our lives. The day also encourages people to think about how colour makes our world a better place.

Colour has played an integral role in our world from practically the beginning of time. For centuries, people have experimented with different pigments for writing, drawing, and expressing themselves. One of the oldest known pigments is red ochre. This pigment was found in a prehistoric cave painting. Iron-rich soil helped to create the pigment. As far back as 40,000 years ago, artists used animal fat, burnt charcoal, and chalk to create different pigments of color. Along with red, other pigments that were created during this time were brown, yellow, black, and white.

Since that time, people have been able to create millions of different colors. According to some scientists, humans are capable of seeing 10 million different colours. Some people believe there are far more colours than that, however. This is because of the different shades of light that affect colour. One colour expert believes there are actually 18 decillion colours. If you are not sure how many that is, it is the number 18 followed by 33 zeroes. That is a lot of colours for our viewing enjoyment!

Colours & Emotion

Not only are colours beautiful to look at, but certain colours evoke different emotions.

  • Red: excitement, love, and energy
  • Orange: confidence, bravery, and success
  • Yellow: creativity, happiness, and warmth
  • Green: healing, freshness, and tranquility
  • Blue: trust, peace, and loyalty
  • Pink: compassion, sincerity, and sweetness
  • Purple: royalty, ambitious, and luxurious
  • Brown: trustworthy, dependable, and simple
  • Black: formal, dramatic, and sophisticated
  • White: clean, innocent, and honest

Are any of these colours your favorite? What are some emotions that you associate with certain colours?

HOW TO OBSERVE #InternationalColourDay

On this day, a variety of events are held throughout the world. Some of these events include art exhibitions, design contests, and workshops on the use of colour and light.

To participate:

  • Make a colour wheel with your children. Teach them about the primary colours and complementary colours.
  • Have a contest with your friends to see who can come up with the most colors.
  • Visit an art museum and pay close attention to the different colours in the paintings.
  • Make a tie dye shirt or knit a scarf using all your favorite colors.

Post an image with your favorite color on social media using #InternationalColourDay.


The Portuguese Color Association proposed an International Colour Day in 2008. In 2009, the International Colour Association agreed to the proposal. They decided on the date March 21st because it is the equinox. During the equinox, night and day are almost equally long. This is symbolic of the association of light and darkness, which is expressed in all human cultures.


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