What It Means if You See a Blue Porch in the South

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In case you haven't noticed (though you probably have), we love discovering the meaning behind people's design and lifestyle choices. Recently, we figured out why many put bars of soap in their gardens and why Ritz Crackers have scalloped edges. Now, thanks to Taste of Home, we're taking a look at why some porches are painted blue.

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When it comes to blue porch ceilings, you'll typically find them in the American South. Why? This design choice comes from a Gullah Geechee tradition that was started around 200 years ago.

According to the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission, the Gullah Geechee people are "descendants of Africans who were enslaved on the rice, indigo, and Sea Island cotton plantations of the lower Atlantic coast." Because of their location on island and coastal plantations, the Gullah Geechee developed their own distinct culture with West African roots.

Part of the Gullah Geechee culture involved folklore believing that ghosts called "haints" were unable to cross over water. So, to keep evil haints away from their homes, the Gullah Geechee began painting their front porch ceilings blue as a way to recreate the color of water. This color became known as "haint blue," according to ​Taste of Home​, and many would also use it to paint their doors and windows.

It's important to note that, per Atlas Obscura, "haint blue" came from the dye produced on indigo plantations worked by enslaved Africans. So while the color is associated with protection, it is also one that is tied to trauma and racism.

To learn more about the Gullah Geechee people and their lasting impact on America, you can visit the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor website. Donations to this organization can also be made here.

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Anna is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who covers lifestyle and design content for Hunker. She's written for Apartment Therapy, the L.A. Times, Forge, and more. She previously worked as the lifestyle editor at HelloGiggles and deputy editor at So Yummy. Her email: anna.gragert@hunker.com