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Saffron is an orange color, resembling the color of the tip of the saffron crocus thread, from which the spice saffron is derived.[2][3]

The first recorded use of saffron as a color name in English was in 1200.[4] It is considered as one of the important colour in Hinduism along with others such as red, blue and white, in which it is known as Bhagwa. The color has some significance in Buddhism; it is worn by the monks of the Theravada tradition. It is also an important symbolic color in India, where it was chosen in 1947 as one of the three colors of the Indian flag after the nation gained its independence.

In nature and culture

  • Stigmas, or threads from flowers are plucked, piled, and dried.
  • Saffron threads from Iran
  • Theravada monk in Thailand
  • The Flag of India since 1947 is saffron, white and green

Saffron in nature



History and politics

The National Flag of India is officially described in the Flag Code of India as follows: "The color 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 color with 24 equally spaced spokes."[5] Deep saffron approximates the color of India saffron.[6][7] 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.[8]

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


  • In Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism), the deep saffron color is associated with sacrifice, religious abstinence, quest for light and salvation. Saffron or bhagwa is the most sacred color for the Hindus and is often worn by sanyasis who have left their home in search of the ultimate truth.
  • 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.)
  • 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 color of the Nishan Sahib, the flag of the Sikh religion, upon which is displayed the khanda in blue.



  • Saffron-colored 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 color 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-colored kit which they play in. The Old Irish word for saffron, cróc, [1] [19] derives directly from the Latin Crocus sativus. In Ireland between the 14th and 17th centuries, men wore léine[2] [20] , a saffron-colored loose shirt that reached down to mid-thigh or the knee [3] [21] . (see Irish clothing).


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

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)[10]

Virgil's Aeneid :




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

Video games

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

Variations of saffron

Displayed at right is the color rajah.

Rajah is a bright deep tone of saffron.

See also

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