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What is our reaction or impression when we read or hear the term “white”? Quite often, it is simply colour that instantly comes to our minds. Furthermore, many of us are unaware of the various interpretations involving the word. This is not surprising! Let’s start with white clothing and its purposes, symbolic, or factual, commonly used in religions as well as in hospitals. The pope, an obvious Roman Catholic, wears white robes to portray his distinctive figure, being the highest authority at the Vatican.
Similarly, some nuns wear white habits to reveal their puritanical appearance, and, not surprisingly, a bride of the same faith traditionally wears a white wedding dress to demonstrate her virginal aspect. Looking at a different religion, it is very interesting to learn about the custom in Islamic countries, where the dead are buried naked, wrapped in a white cloth. Their belief is that it symbolizes purity and is a necessary religious practice for the dead to get to heaven.
When it comes to facts, we also understand the necessity of white garments used in private or public hospitals, and most clinics. Here, there are compulsory regulations where all medical staff must wear white uniforms, ranging from caps to overcoats and suits. It is the intention of the hospitals to help their patients and outsiders, distinguish the doctors, physicians, nurses and other medical assistants. We go on to fascinating “white” creations, being those of nature. For example, clouds, snow, sleet, ice, fog and mist are all naturally white as a result of atmospheric temperatures.
Even the moon, stars and lightning flashes are white, however, at night! Moreover, another example is that of bones, such as humans, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, as well as the milk produced by humans and animals. Likewise, even the sap produced by some trees, is white. Other interpretations of “white” are present in grammatical expressions. It is also used to reveal a person’s image, emotions or feelings. An example would be, “He became white with shock”.
Very often, “white” used before a noun denotes the whiteness in colour, of that subject. However, it is also possible that words used immediately after the term can have nothing to do with the colour itself and can have completely different or contradictory meanings, such as: A white admiral, a kind of butterfly from Eurasia; A white ant, another name for a termite that is black in colour! As we approach the final subject, think about “white’ and associate it with food. The result of our imagination could be rice, sugar, salt or flour.
However, did we bear in mind at the same instant, that these foods were initially not white, but became so after a thorough process or refinement? In opposition to the previous question, it is amazing how some flesh foods not naturally white in raw state, turn white in appearance, as a result of cooking. Such classified foods are fish, chicken, turkey and duck. Consequently, what do we contemplate about white eggshells? We reason their naturally white colour but we definitely do not think of eating them! Nevertheless, the albumin, a part of its edible contents, also turns white in colour when cooked.
An advantageous food compared to those previously mentioned is the cauliflower, a beneficial vegetable that remains white in colour and edible, both in raw and cooked state. After looking at all these examples, we now realize how vastly the term can be interpreted, whether used religiously, symbolically, factually, as a natural creation, in general vocabulary or food. Perhaps the next time we are asked a question about a colour, our immediate thoughts or assumptions will be somewhat different, than just the ordinary colour itself!