Almost a hundred years ago, somewhere between 1900-1930, the tribes and sheikhdoms of the Arabian Peninsula were consolidated into the modern-day Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And on the 23rd of September, Saudi Arabia takes this National Day as a great reason to decorate their streets in a renewable green.
Eighty one years later, the Unification of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an annual celebration for Saudis. People living in Saudi agree that ‘green’ is king of all the colours as even though the festivities are over, we still see children dressed in green t-shirts, cars painted green, and green lights illuminating buildings at night.
But why go green? Saudi Arabia, rich in oil has upped its environmental policies in efforts to prevent depletion of the liquid gold. The country introduced solar power as an alternative energy generator, and in 2009 opened the world’s largest desalination plant. Yesterday we reported that Saudi gave women their right to vote and fight climate change.
From a psychological perspective, however, the question remains. What does the colour green mean?
Green has historically symbolised growth, new life and peace. It represents spring, youth and determination. The Saudi flag is green with the white Arabic testimony of Muslim faith, “there is no god worthy of worship except the One God, and Muhammad is His messenger.”
As a species of attachment, we seek to find green in nature to bring us back to our roots, to bring tranquility. In major world religions including Islam and Judaism, the first man and woman are believed to have resided in a garden of lush greenery and ample fruits. In contemporary urbanised societies, we long for that simpler, stuff-free origin.
Basic colour theory tells us green is the most gentle of all colors on the eyes and working environments opt for hues of green and blue interior decor to promote calmer thinking spaces.
The green in Islam
Green has a spiritual connotation to Islam, although all the colours resonate in the Islamic faith. Green foliage decorates the minarets of mosques and green is commonly used as the color of mosque domes throughout the world.
Muslim activists don green fashion sense and it’s told that Prophet Muhammad of Islam wore a green turban, his favorite color was green and with a passion for preserving nature he publicly hugged trees. Most notably, the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah is topped with the iconic green dome – homage to his love for nature.
Just as Saudi celebrate a day of unity, green is the colour that represents giving and spreading good among people. In the Quran, the holy scripture of Islam, we are told the dwellers of Paradise will be dressed in green, “…Beneath them rivers will flow. They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and will wear green garments of fine silk and brocade, reclining on adorned couches.” (Quran, 18:31).
Each colour has certain psychological and physiological effects on people. Psychologists note that that including more green can improve one’s reading ability. More and more hospitals are designing green gardens and green roofs to promote healing among patients and to help reduce their perception of pain.
Perhaps the poet Robert Frost, sums up our love for the colour best: “Nature’s first green is gold.” And that, is what we call a paradox.
More green enlightenment:
On the Way to Sulha: Where Religion and Ecology Meet
Could Saudi Arabia Become the Saudi Arabia of Solar?
Middle East Leaders To Launch Green Hajj Guide At House Of
Hezbollah Chief Compares Environment To Freedom of Speech
Eco Rabbi: The Green of Blessings