Friday, August 30, 2019

[haint] your porch

as we started to get settled into our new house, one item i wasn't a fan of was the color of the porch ceiling.  it was an odd shade of light blue which didn't match anything else on the house.  i couldn't wait to change it.

repainting the porch wasn't a high priority, but it was thinking of it as a future project.  like many things, when something is on your mind you tend to notice it in other places in your life more.  as i went through my normal day to day routine, i found myself paying more attention to porch ceilings on homes and restaurants and noticed most of them were this exact same shade of blue!  now i was intrigued.  asking around and talking to a few friends, i was told "it was a very new england thing to do."

this answer wasn't good enough for me. i wanted to know WHY this was a thing.

just like anyone in need of an answer, i turned to google.  a quick search turned up a several reasons for the light colored blue ceiling.  one explanation is that it's actually a color called [haint] blue.  painting your porch ceiling haint blue, which is derived from crushed indigo plants, is a tradition originating from the gullah geechee in the deep south and it's  meant to ward off ghosts and evil spirits.  other articles i found said light blue is used to confuse birds and insect.  this specific color makes critters think the porch is open to the sky, so they don't build nests, although there seemed to be no scientific evidence of this.  as far as a more regional explanation, i found that painting the porch ceiling a light blue was a cosmetic way to extend that sunny summer day feeling throughout the year, in a region that tends to have short summers and long grey winters. 

my research only took me so far and i was unable to determine if one of the traditions started before any of the others.  thankfully for me, the explanations i read were enough for me to fall in love with the color. maybe it was my years in architecture school, but it seems design choices based on reason always hold up better than those based on a whim.  i LOVE knowing there was some thought put into our porch ceiling and i fully intend to keep it. 

also, anything that wards off evil spirits and ghosts from your home seems like a plus.

No comments: