Do you ever wonder why Southerners have adorned the ceilings of some front (or back) porches and even some window and door frames in shades of light blue and green? It's more than just a common color choice -- there's a much more specific reason, and it's he perfect time of year to learn this spooky history of "Haint Blue." Here's quick little history of this charming cultural phenomenon and why you might want to be make this particular color choice part of your own decor.
It is written in Macmillan Dictionary that "According to Appalachian historian Dave Tabler, the word haint can refer to an angry dead spirit, but also to 'an undefinable something that scares the bejeevers out of you.'" Haint blue, therefore, is a color chosen to ward off those bad spirits and keep them from hanging around your home.
It is believed the power of these particular shades of light blue and green was introduced by African-Americans in the early 19th century. Most versions of folklore say that the bluish hue represents water, and according to stories passed down from generation to generation, it was believed that spirits can’t cross water, meaning therefore they cannot cross your threshold, come through your windows, or even hang out on your porch -- which is a good thing, because there's almost nothing more satisfying that a good porch-sit in the south (and I don't know about you, but I'd prefer to do so with the living, and not the spirits of the dead)...
There may also be a practical reason for these color choices, too: wasps and other pests that build nests will avoid building them on a porch ceiling painted light blue, meaning you have fewer pests to clear away in the summertime. Some stories mention that wasps and mosquitoes were believed to be present when evil spirits were lurking, and keeping away the spirits also meant keeping these pests away. Having had porches painted with Haint Blue over the years, I can attest to the practical: no wasps built nests on my pretty blue ceilings (but they didn't hesitate to build them on other areas of our siding or soffits that were painted white).
Regardless of whether you believe in evil spirits or just want a pest-free porch, this piece of folklore has become a charming Southern tradition and adds a pop of cool blue color (and looks great with hanging ferns, I might add). Keep it in mind come Spring when you're looking for ways to freshen up your curb appeal and add a little conversation piece to your front or back porch!
Click here to download a PDF of our favorite Haint Blue hues for your home!