Saffron (color)

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About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet#F4C430
sRGBB  (rgb)(244, 196, 48)
CMYKH   (c, m, y, k)(4, 23, 81, 5)
HSV       (h, s, v)(45°, 80%, 96%)
SourceMaerz and Paul[1]
ISCC–NBS descriptorVivid yellow
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.[2]

It is an important colour in Buddhism; it is worn by the monks of the Theravada tradition. In politics, it was used 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 Hindu nationalism.

As the name of the spice, saffron was used in Middle English from c. 1200; as a colour name, it dates to the late 14th century.[3] The word is ultimately (via Arabic) from a Middle Iranian ja'far-.

In nature and culture[edit]

Saffron in nature[edit]



  • The saffron finch (Sicalis flaveola) is a tanager from South America, and is common in both open and semi-open areas in lowlands outside the Amazon basin.

History and politics[edit]

The National 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."[4] Deep saffron approximates the colour of India saffron.[5][6] India saffron, white and what is now called India green were chosen for the three bands, representing courage and sacrifice, peace and truth, and faith and chivalry respectively.[7]

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.[8]


Flag of the Sikh religion- the Sikh - Nishan Sahib.
Bhagwa Dhwaj, used as the flag of the Maratha Empire.
  • In Hinduism, the deep saffron colour is associated with sacrifice, religious abstinence, quest for light and salvation. Saffron or bhagwa is the most sacred colour for the Hindus and is often worn by sanyasis who have left their home in search of the ultimate truth and serving the society before self.
  • Buddhist monks in the Theravada tradition typically wear saffron robes (although occasionally maroon—the colour 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.)
  • The Maratha Confederacy used "Jari Patka" as their flag. It is a saffron swallow tail flag, with sometimes added red/golden frilled border.
  • Sikhs use saffron as the background colour of the Nishan Sahib, the flag of the Sikh religion, upon which is displayed the khanda in blue.



  • 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 kit which they play in. The Old Irish word for saffron, cróc, [1] derives directly from the Latin Crocus sativus. In Ireland between the 14th and 17th centuries, men wore léine[2], a saffron-coloured loose shirt that reached down to mid-thigh or the knee [3]. (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: 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)[9]

Virgil's Aeneid:

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.[10]


Buddhist monks in the Theravada tradition



  • The colour at the top of the Indian National Flag is a colour officially called India saffron that is an orangish shade of saffron. On the Indian National Flag the colour saffron is supposed to represent sacrifice and renunciation of materialism.
  • In Rajasthani this colour is called kay-ser-ia. The word derives its name from kesar, a spice crop from Kashmir.

Video games[edit]

  • In the Pokémon games, there is a city named Saffron City.

Variations of saffron[edit]


About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet#FBAB60
sRGBB  (rgb)(251, 174, 96)
CMYKH   (c, m, y, k)(0, 32, 62, 2)
HSV       (h, s, v)(29°, 62%, 98%)
ISCC–NBS descriptorModerate orange
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
H: Normalized to [0–100] (hundred)

Displayed at right is the colour rajah.

Rajah is a bright deep tone of saffron.

India saffron or deep saffron[edit]

Deep saffron
About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet#FF9933
sRGBB  (rgb)(255, 153, 51)
CMYKH   (c, m, y, k)(0, 50, 90, 0)
HSV       (h, s, v)(34°, 80%, 87%)
ISCC–NBS descriptorStrong orange
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
H: Normalized to [0–100] (hundred)

Deep saffron or Kesari is the saffron color used in Flag of India.

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. ^ Oxford Living Dictionaries On-Line. Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (1962)
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ "Flag Code of India" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-01-23. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  5. ^ Archived from the original on December 11, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Indian Standards" (PDF). Bureau of Indian Standards. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 September 2008. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  7. ^ "Flag of India". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2009. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  8. ^ "Flag Code of India" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs (India). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  9. ^ Next Page. "The Iliad - Free Online Book". Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  10. ^ "The Aeneid by Virgil - Free Ebook". 1995-03-01. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  11. ^ Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved May 20, 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "??". Retrieved 2016-02-27. (subscription required)
  13. ^ "Color conversion (RGB / CMYK / HSV / YUV / ...)". Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  14. ^ "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.