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Interesting Things About Yellow

It’s often associated with cheerfulness, flowers and spring, and learning. We use the color to warn us of danger and sometimes as an insult. There are a lot of famous things in this color, from fruits and veggies to potty humor. Yes, today we are talking about yellow.

Democrats were once associated with yellow.

The term was “yellow dog Democrat,” and it stood for a Southern Democrat with strong party loyalty. The saying first originated from the claim that someone would vote for “a yellow dog” before voting for a Republican. First used in 1928, the term is largely out of use today.

Yellow is associated with cowardice.

The term is actually “yellow-bellied,” which refers to frogs. From the Old West, the term referred to “something that would hop away and hide.” It was eventually shorted to just “yellow,” which is still occasionally used today.

Some Buddhist monks wear yellow robes.

Mostly these monks are found in Thailand, Burma, and other countries in the region. It was once a tradition to use cloths that had already been used and discarded, which often were dyed with saffron to hide the old stains. The dying process was never quite the same and the robes came out either yellow, orange, or maroon. The yellow is said to stand for humility and detachment.

Pee is often yellow.

And why is pee yellow? Well, it contains a pigment called urochrome, sometimes called urobilin, which is yellow in color. The degree of yellow you see in your pee depends on how much water you’ve been drinking before you urinate.

Yellow ribbons are put up in support of military troops.

The tradition started with the song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree,” a song about a prisoner asking his wife to do this to commemorate his return home. It was eventually picked up during the first Gulf War in 1991 to support the troops. Yellow ribbon magnets are used for this purpose today.

Yellow was once associated with Asians.

This, however, was a derogatory term and should not be used when referring to people of Asian decent. White people started using the term “yellow” as an insult in the 1800s and it stuck around into the era of the Cold War, especially during the Vietnam War. It is considered racist by many people, despite some awareness groups still referring to Asians as yellow!

Yellow is a warning color.

Yellow traffic signs warn of approaching hazards, and a yellow traffic light warns of an impending red light. Volcanologists use the color yellow to indicate a restless volcano. Yellow alerts indicate that a dangerous situation is possible or escalating.

Yellow is associated with two popular fruits.

At least where candy and flavored items are concerned. Most of these things are lemon flavored, though they can also be banana flavored. Most banana flavored milkshakes are also dyed yellow, as is lemonade (if it’s not dyed pink, anyway). This is far from reality. A banana’s edible parts are white and a lemon’s juice is actually white or clear.

Some orange things are called yellow.

I can’t figure out why, either. Research uncovered some really stupid ideas that I won’t share here. Some fruits and veggies are considered “yellow” even if they are orange and some orange pigments are also referred to as various shades of yellow. If you hear someone refer to a “yellow cat,” it is likely a ginger, or orange, cat.

“Yellow Submarine” is a Beatles song that is often misunderstood.

Released in 1966, it is said to be some commentary on drug culture. However, in interviews with the Beatles themselves, it is considered a children’s song. Paul McCartney claims that the name of the song came from a yellow frozen treat in Greece that is sometimes known as a submarine. John Lennon and George Harrison thought of a submarine while doing LSD, so the drug association is still there, just not in the way people think.

Yellow was my grandmother’s favorite color, mostly because of meadowlarks, her favorite bird. She moved to a place where she was depressed because she couldn’t see meadowlarks at the house. One day, just after my great grandmother died, Grandma looked outside to see a huge flock of meadowlarks in the yard, all singing cheerfully. Eventually they took off and flew away, never to be seen again. Grandma is convinced this was her mother’s signal that she was alright.


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