Saffron (color)

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About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet#F4C430
HSV       (h, s, v)(45°, 80%, 96%)
sRGBB  (rgb)(244, 196, 48)
SourceMaerz and Paul[1]
ISCC–NBS descriptorVivid yellow
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
H: Normalized to [0–100] (hundred)
About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet#FBAB60
HSV       (h, s, v)(29°, 62%, 98%)
sRGBB  (rgb)(251, 174, 96)
ISCC–NBS descriptorModerate orange
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
H: Normalized to [0–100] (hundred)

Saffron is a shade of yellow or orange, the colour of the tip of the saffron crocus thread, from which the spice saffron is derived.[4] The hue of the spice saffron is primarily due to the carotenoid chemical crocin.


Saffron threads from Iran

The word saffron ultimately derives (via Arabic) from the Middle Iranian ja'far-. The name was used for the saffron spice in Middle English from c. 1200. As a colour name, it dates to the late 14th century.[5]


Deep saffron
About these coordinates     Colour coordinates
Hex triplet#FF9933
HSV       (h, s, v)(34°, 80%, 87%)
sRGBB  (rgb)(255, 153, 51)
ISCC–NBS descriptorStrong orange
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
H: Normalized to [0–100] (hundred)

Deep saffron approximates the colour of India saffron (also known as bhagwa or kesari).[6][7]

In Rajasthani, this colour is called kay-ser-ia. The word derives its name from kesar, a spice crop from Kashmir.

In nature[edit]

Stigmas (i.e., flower threads) from saffron crocus are plucked, piled, and dried.



A male saffron finch (Sicalis flaveola)

Aquatic animals

A male saffron shiner (Notropis rubricroceus)



A saffron milkcap (Lactarius deliciosus)




Bhagwa colour flag, used by Hindus.
Flag of the Sikh religion- the Sikh - Nishan Sahib.
Theravada monk in Thailand

Hinduism and Buddhism associate saffron with the pious renunciation of material life.[9][10][11]

Buddhist monks in the Theravada tradition typically wear saffron robes (although occasionally maroon — the color normally worn by Vajrayana Buddhist monks — is worn). The tone of saffron typically worn by Theravada Buddhist monks is the lighter tone of saffron shown above.

Saffron holds symbolic meaning in Sikhism, representing spirit and sacrifice.[12] Originally a shade of yellow called basanti, the field of the modern Nishan Sahib is saffron.[12][13] Turbans worn by Sikhs most often blue or white,[14] but saffron is common.[12][15]

Political uses[edit]

Flag of India
The Flag of India (since 1947) is saffron, white and green
Bhagwa Dhwaj, used as the flag of the Maratha Empire.

In politics, it was used by the Indian independence movement, and it was chosen as one of the three colours of the Indian national flag after independence in 1947, and is used by Hindus.[16] India saffron, representing courage and sacrifice, was chosen for one of the three bands of the National Flag of India, along with white (peace and truth) and what is now called India green (faith and chivalry).[17][18] The Flag of India is officially described in the Flag Code of India as follows:

The colour of the top panel shall be India saffron (Kesari) and that of the bottom panel shall be India green. The middle panel shall be white, bearing at its centre the design of Ashoka Chakra in navy blue colour with 24 equally spaced spokes.[19]

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who later became India's first Vice President and second President, described the significance of the Indian National Flag as follows:

Bhagwa or the saffron colour denotes renunciation or disinterestedness. Our leaders must be indifferent to material gains and dedicate themselves to their work. The white in the centre is light, the path of truth to guide our conduct. The green shows our relation to (the) soil, our relation to the plant life here, on which all other life depends. The "Ashoka Chakra" in the centre of the white is the wheel of the law of dharma. Truth or satya, dharma or virtue ought to be the controlling principle of those who work under this flag. Again, the wheel denotes motion. There is death in stagnation. There is life in movement. India should no more resist change, it must move and go forward. The wheel represents the dynamism of a peaceful change.[20]

The use of saffron in the national flag and as political symbolism is has been opposed.[9] One line of opposition asserts that the color is sacred and should not be politicized.[9] Another source of opposition comes from Islamists who claim the color is forbidden in Islam and strongly prohibited to be worn by the males.[9][21]

Saffron turbans are associated with the Khalistan movement in the Punjab region of Pakistan and India.[12]

Because Therevada Buddhist monks were at the forefront of the 2007 Burmese anti-government protests, the uprising has been referred to as the Saffron Revolution by some in the international media.[22][23]

Today in India, saffron is the official color of the Bharatiya Janata Party, India's largest center-right[24] party, and the largest political party by registered member count in the world.[25][26]


Saffron-coloured cloth had a history of use among the Gaelic-Irish. A saffron kilt is worn by the pipers of certain Irish regiments in the British Army, and the saffron léine in the defence forces of the Republic of Ireland. The latter garment is also worn by some Irish and Irish-American men as an item of national costume (though most wear kilts, believing them to be Irish). Its colour varies from a true saffron orange to a range of dull mustard and yellowish-brown hues.

The Antrim GAA teams are nicknamed "The Saffrons" because of the saffron-coloured kilt which they play in. The Old Irish word for saffron, cróc,[27] derives directly from the Latin Crocus sativus. In Ireland between the 14th and 17th centuries, men wore léine,[28] a saffron-coloured loose shirt that reached down to mid-thigh or the knee.[29] (see Irish clothing).


The colour saffron is associated with the goddess of dawn (Eos in Greek mythology and Aurora in Roman mythology) in classical literature:

Cymon and Iphigeneia c. 1884 by Frederic Leighton - saffron suffuses the canvas at sunrise

Homer's Iliad:[30]

Now when Dawn in robe of saffron was hastening from the streams of Okeanos, to bring light to mortals and immortals, Thetis reached the ships with the armor that the god had given her. (19.1)

Virgil's Aeneid:[31]

Aurora now had left her saffron bed,

And beams of early light the heav'ns o'erspread,

When, from a tow'r, the queen, with wakeful eyes,

Saw day point upward from the rosy skies.

Other media[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The colour displayed in the colour box above matches the colour called saffron in the 1930 book by Maerz and Paul A Dictionary of Colour New York:1930 McGraw-Hill; the colour saffron is displayed on page 43 Plate 10, Colour Sample K8.
  2. ^ "Color conversion (RGB / CMYK / HSV / YUV / ...)". Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  3. ^ "View the Resene Colour Swatch Library & Resene Find-A-Colour on Style New Zealand Inspiration". Archived from the original on 2017-09-15. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  4. ^ Oxford Living Dictionaries On-Line. Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (1962)
  5. ^ Maerz and Paul A Dictionary of Colour New York:1930 McGraw-Hill Page 203; Colour Sample of Saffron: Page 43 Plate 10 Colour Sample K8
  6. ^ "History of Indian Flag". Archived from the original on December 11, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  7. ^ "Indian Standards" (PDF). Bureau of Indian Standards. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 September 2008. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  8. ^ Jo Ann Carrigan (15 December 2015). The Saffron Scourge: A History of Yellow Fever in Louisiana, 1796-1905. University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press. ISBN 978-1-935754-48-0.
  9. ^ a b c d Ragini Sen; Wolfgang Wagner; Caroline Howarth (30 September 2013). Secularism and Religion in Multi-faith Societies: The Case of India. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 37–38. ISBN 978-3-319-01922-2.
  10. ^ Peggy Froerer (23 July 2019). Religious Division and Social Conflict: The Emergence of Hindu Nationalism in Rural India. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-351-37812-3.
  11. ^ "Colour Symbolism in Hinduism". 18 July 2021.
  12. ^ a b c d Opinderjit Kaur Takhar (5 December 2016). Sikh Identity: An Exploration of Groups Among Sikhs. Taylor & Francis. p. 88. ISBN 978-1-351-90010-2.
  13. ^ Kartar Singh Bhalla (2002). Let's Know Sikhism: A Religion of Harmony, Brotherhood and Tolerance. Star Publications. p. 40. ISBN 978-81-7650-055-5.
  14. ^ "Learn How to Tie Different Sikh Turbans". 21 May 2008.
  15. ^ Pashaura Singh (18 April 2019). A Dictionary of Sikh Studies. OUP Oxford. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-19-250843-0.
  16. ^ Krishna, Subhash (2020-07-19). Salvation by Lord Shri Krishna. Notion Press. ISBN 978-1-64587-108-8.
  17. ^ "Flag of India". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2009. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  18. ^ "My India My Pride - Indian Tricolor - Know India: National Portal of India".
  19. ^ "Flag Code of India" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-01-23. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  20. ^ "Flag Code of India" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs (India). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  21. ^ Imaam Ahmad and Ibn Maajah, 3591
  22. ^ "Burmese Days". Retrieved 2016-02-27. (subscription required)
  23. ^ Lloyd Parry, Richard (24 September 2007). "Nuns join monks in Burma's Saffron Revolution". The Times. London. Retrieved 10 April 2009. Which meant that to the public the Monks and their religion played an important role throughout the protests. Along with the monks were nuns, students and activists who were protesting during the revolution.
  24. ^ Malik, Yogendra K.; Singh, V. B. (1992). "Bharatiya Janata Party: An Alternative to the Congress (I)?". Asian Survey. 32 (4): 318–336. doi:10.2307/2645149. ISSN 0004-4687. JSTOR 2645149.
  25. ^ "Gujarat deputy CM welcomes all Congress MLAs to join Saffron party". Business Insider. Retrieved 2021-05-20.
  26. ^ DelhiAugust 29, India Today Web Desk New; August 30, 2019UPDATED; Ist, 2019 00:17. "BJP inducts 7 crore new members, creates membership drive record". India Today. Retrieved 2021-05-20.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  27. ^ "saffron - Translation to Irish Gaelic with audio pronunciation of translations for saffron by New English-Irish Dictionary". Retrieved Jan 5, 2021.
  28. ^ "shirt - Translation to Irish Gaelic with audio pronunciation of translations for shirt by New English-Irish Dictionary". Retrieved Jan 5, 2021.
  29. ^ "An Leine Crioch — The Irish Leine in the 16th century – Reconstructing History". Mar 12, 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-03-12. Retrieved Jan 5, 2021.
  30. ^ Next Page. "The Iliad - Free Online Book". Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  31. ^ The Aeneid by Virgil - Free Ebook. 1995-03-01. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  32. ^ Donavan. "Mellow Yellow". Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved May 20, 2008.