Colours of the Week

Ever since I was a child I’ve seen the days of the weeks as colours in my mind. I see them as if they are a strip of printed titles at the top of a calendar page, seen at a slight angle and floating in a dark brown/black void with the names repeating and disappearing off into the distance.  Each name is printed in bold type (and now with my familiarity with different fonts I realise I’ve been seeing them in Arial or Helvetica all my life, LOL) usually with the day name printed in the colour, or some with the name in white with the background coloured instead. I’ve never thought anything of it as that’s just the way its always been. I have no idea why I associate particular colours (or shapes) with each day, but here’s how I see them…

Sunday is pale pink (with a pink lace background).
Monday is white.
Tuesday is orange (with an orange coloured lemon-shaped (like the fruit) object under the word).
Wednesday is apple green.
Thursday is pale silvery grey.
Friday is a very dark purple (with a purple lace background, gathered at the top like a lace cravat or collar ruffle of ye olden days).
Saturday is dark navy blue (almost black).

Um… yes, I know …its a bit weird, LOL.

Some time ago, while Googling yet again for info about Asperger’s Syndrome,  I came across a description of a condition called synaesthesia, “which is a perceptual condition of mixed sensations: a stimulus in one sensory modality (e.g., hearing) involuntarily elicits a sensation/experience in another modality (e.g. vision). Likewise, perception of a form (e.g., a letter) may induce an unusual perception in the same modality (e.g. a color)”. More detailed info can be found here.

It is interesting to note that there is a link with autism, as synaesthesia and autism occur together more often than chance predicts.

I decided to do an online test to see if my weekday/colour thing is really classed as synaesthesia. From my test results below, its looks like I am definitely a synaesthete, at least with regard to days of the week. There are a lot of other types of synaesthesia which I do not consciously experience so I didn’t do the tests for any of those.

synaesthesiaA standardized test battery for the study of synesthesia (pdf file)

While doing the test I found I felt distinctly uncomfortable in my solar plexis area about the “look” of the day name until I got the colour right, or as close as I could to what felt right. I had the most trouble with “Wednesday” as the green seemed harder to pick than any of the other colours.

Witchcraft & Colour Correspondences

All this got me wondering about the origins of the colour correspondences commonly used within witchcraft & paganism. Why are particular colours associated with planets, days of the week, and different attributes such as money, healing, banishing etc. How did all these associations originate and was synaesthesia involved in the selection process? Something to ponder perhaps. 🙂

Just out of curiosity I decided to compare my weekday colour choices with some of the correspondences commonly used. I found a lot of different sources, both online and from my books, for colours associated with the planets, which are in turn associated with the days of the week. There seems to be a great range of colours for some of the days of the week, and a general consensus on only a couple of colours for others. Hmm… it all comes down to people’s individual perceptions of course (synaesthetic or not), but interesting none the less. I managed to come up with matches for 5 out of the 7 days.

day-colours

So does this mean I was tapping into the collective unconscious or some other great unknown source of cosmic correspondences when I was just a child and first discovering that days had colours? A bit far fetched perhaps …who knows? Does my little exercise prove anything? …no, not really. But I had fun wasting a morning while writing and discovering stuff. I’d better get back to some real work now, LOL. 😀

Edit: (a few hours later…) This is really wonderfully intriguing stuff! 😀
It seems I have other family members with synaesthesia …I just asked my kids a few questions!

The Colour of Numbers and the Flavour of Music…

I asked my eldest son (who has very mild Asperger’s traits, never professionally assessed) and he says he doesn’t experience any colours or other potentially synaesthetic experiences.

My second son (definitely more Aspie traits than his older brother but also not professionally  assessed or diagnosed [Edit: diagnosed ADD in 2010 – 1 year after I wrote this blog post]) says he sees the months of the year as a long line of names starting from January and going away into the distance. The background starts as white, then by about May it gradually turns to blue, then around September it gets much darker and by November it is black. These colour changes are gradual, however at the end of December  there is a sharp cut-off line between the black of December and the white of January once the next year starts.  The names of the months start out written in black then gradually get paler as the background becomes darker, so they can still be seen. This long line of names of the months also goes uphill and levels out in some spots before continuing uphill again. January to April is flat, then May to July goes sharply uphill, August to September levels off again, October to December goes uphill, then at the top of that hill the next plateau starts with January to April being flat etc. The whole line just goes up and up, year after year,  off into the distance.

My third son (diagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome) sees days of the week as a long film strip with each name written on a frame in the film. He does not see them in colours however. He sees most of the letters of the alphabet in colours but couldn’t be bothered telling me what they all were, only a few examples: A is red, B is brown, H is green and Y is a light creamy colour. He also says that music tastes like stuff, which I find far more interesting than the colour thing! He says that most Techno music tastes like lollies but one particular techno song tastes like spongecake. Country music has a savoury flavour and Rock music tastes like the colour grey (even though he can’t pinpoint what grey tastes like). He also sees people as numbers …apparently it’s something to do with the appearance of their face. It’s not a scoring system as such, but rather a physical similarity he sees between the person and the shape of the number. He sees me as a 10 or sometimes an 11, his father as a 6, his oldest brother is a 9, his next older brother is a 6, his younger brother is a 4, he sees himself as a 2 or a 7 (but mainly 7), my father is a 5, my mother is a 2 or a 7 and so it goes on. Our dog is also a 4, LOL.

My youngest son (diagnosed mild Asperger’s Syndrome plus ADD) also sees the days of the week in colours like I do…

Sunday is pale grey.
Monday is dark blue.
Tuesday is light green.
Wednesday is dark green.
Thursday is red.
Friday is orange.
Saturday is yellow.

(In relation to the magical correspondences, his colour choices matched only 1 out of 7 with Wednesday’s dark green being the closest to “green”.)

He also sees the numbers 1 to 20 as colours as well. He said he doesn’t see the numbers after 20 as anything.

1 = brown
2 = light green
3 = red
4 = black
5 = orange
6 = light green
7 = yellow
8 = pink
9 = dark green
10 = white
11 = black
12 = dark green
13 = red
14 = dark blue
15 = light orange
16 = light green
17 = darkish yellow
18 = pink
19 = dark green
20 = light green

Wow! …the things you find out about family, LOL! 😀

Edit 2: (many more hours later!) …looking at my son’s numbers/colours table I made I’ve just realised that the way I divided up the results into 4 groups of 5 (simply to save space on the page) has revealed a definite pattern of repeating colour choices for similar numbers across most of the rows …interesting!  1 & 11 are both very dark, 2 & 12 are both shades of green, 3 & 13 are both red, 4 & 14 are both very dark, 5 & 15 are both shades of orange, 6 & 16 are both light green, 7 & 17 are both shades of yellow, 8 & 18 are both pink, 9 & 19 are both dark green, 10 & 20 are odd ones out, being 2 totally different colours …although 20 is green, the same as the other “2” numbers 2 & 12.

I think my pattern-picking Aspieness is showing, LOL!

Edit 3: (the following afternoon) I decided to ask my youngest son to list his colours for the weekdays and numbers again to see if he gave the same answers. He did! The only difference was for 12 he said ‘red’ instead of ‘dark green’ (which mucks up the colour pattern I’d noticed yesterday) and for 20 he said ‘white’ instead of ‘light green’ (which actually completes the pattern for that last line!).

Edit 26/11/2011: More information about synaesthesia can be found in Why it Pays to Taste Words and Hear Colors.

Edit 26/06/2014: Another interesting article  – Can Syneasthesia Be Learnt?

26th June 2014 – 5 years later…

After reading the article listed directly above I decided to take the synaesthesia test again. As it’s just over 5 years since I first did the test I can’t remember if all the questions are the same or even if the method of picking colours was the same – something seemed different about it but I can’t be certain. This time, as well as doing the Weekday Colour Picker test (which I did last time) I also inadvertently ended up doing the “Absolute Pitch Test”, which I didn’t do last time. I answered “yes” to the question “Do you have perfect pitch?” because if I hear a note I can sing the same one or quickly find it on a piano keyboard, without the need to know the name of this note. In the test however, a tone or a piano note was sounded and I had to pick from a number note names – I didn’t have a clue which sound had which note name and because of the countdown timer I was quite confused as to which notes/tones were being “played” by the test and which were the sounds I’d clicked on in response – or even if I was hearing the note I’d responded with or the next tone/note played by the test – the response time between when I clicked on a button and when I heard the next sound wasn’t consistent and totally confused me. Needless to say I failed that section miserably. Oh well, I didn’t realise I was electing to do the pitch test anyway, lol. My result on the weekday colours was slightly “better” than last time however. Here’s my latest results… 🙂

Synesthesia-colour

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26 thoughts on “Colours of the Week

  1. I think that you would love the book I picked up the other week.

    It is called “The brain that changes itself” by Norman Doidge it talks about the plasticity of the brain, and at one point they talk about autism (which your boys don’t have) but I think you would really enjoy the read! I know I am!

    Some very interesting case studies talked about in regards to changing the way the brain maps out neurons and areas in the brain and how damage or disease can change it, and how various exercises and such can get some function back.

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  2. I think I might have to get that book some time as you’re the second person who’s recommended it to me. 🙂 BTW Asperger’s Syndrome is part of the autism spectrum, so yes, my boys are autistic — even if only ‘mildly’ so.

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  3. I’ve ordered Norman Doidge’s book from my favourite online bookshop Booktopia and it should arrive early next week …yay! I also ordered a few other books too, so I’ll be kept busy for quite a while, LOL.

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  4. I always saw Friday as being dark green. Monday is yellow, Tuesday is definitely orange. Wait, Wednesday is also yellow. Weird. Thursday is brown, Saturday is dark blue and Sunday is pale blue. Like the sky, including clouds.

    Now I’m intrigued. I think I will try that test.

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  5. Wow! I just came across this post on your blog. Last month I wrote a post about my relationship with numbers and shared how I see numbers in colors.

    I find this very interesting I have never heard of synaesthesia. New research for me. How was Norman Doidge’s book?

    I see people, numbers, certain words/letters in color and my dreams are filled with very vibrant colors. I noticed I that see some of the numbers in the same colors as your son. Hm…

    Great post! I too am intrigued and am going try do the test.

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  6. I just went and found your numbers post and it reminded me that I too prefer even numbers. I can “force” myself not to get too upset about most odd numbers (some are “nicer” than others) but I find some prime numbers rather disturbing for some reason. I know it’s rather silly in the grand scheme of things, but if I have the choice I even prefer to sit in even numbered theatre seats rather than odd ones, LOL.

    I embarrassed to say I still haven’t read Norman Doidge’s book yet — it’s still in the pile waiting to be read. I will get to it one day. 🙂

    Just out of curiosity, and to satisfy my never-ending need for “scientific proof” of stuff, I asked my youngest son about his days of the week colours again, and he gave the same answers — just over 7 months later. I think I’ve seen the days as the same colours ever since I was a kid so I guess that might be the same for other people too.

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  7. Ha ha ha I do that too with seats and sometimes checkout lanes, I know, silly, but there are certain days I cannot help myself.

    Like I said in my post I never thought about it, I didn’t think about my number thing or that I see certain numbers in color. I also taste color but some of them do not have a specific taste it is just an adjective like red tastes like a flutter. I don’t know how to explain that one. I seem to have many different things like that, such as when I hear dishes clanging I see splashes of yellow or I feel the clang in my bones.

    I find it very interesting now that I know it is not “normal”. It has always been like that so it never occurred to me that other people didn’t do that, I have now started questioning my husband as well. His are different; I can’t wait until Daniel gets a bit older and can tell me when I ask him.

    I have seen certain numbers in the same colors as far back as I can remember. Like the number 7 is always gold or at least some sort of golden yellow. I see music in colors too. Very fascinating stuff.

    I have a huge pile of books also; I either get sidetracked with other things to read or things happening in everyday life. I am thinking I will always have a pile of books waiting. 🙂

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  8. I forgot about this post when I wrote one recently about synaesthesia but then I remembered and put up your link on my post. I hope that is ok. I thought you had some really great info on here and I wanted to share it. 🙂

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  9. Every single one of your colors are soooo wrong, and your youngest son only got one okay-ish (Tuesday)! Monday is yellow, Tuesday is forest green, much like August, Wednesday is the exact color of your Tuesday, Thursday is hot pink, Friday is true blue, Saturday is plum purple, and Sunday is red. Interestingly enough, there is a major trend among synesthetes (I have surveyed twenty, including me) for Sunday being some shade of yellow, or at least yellow-orange; over half of the above mentioned synesthetes agreed Sunday was yellow, and approximately one third thought it was a light yellow or golden yellow. Interestingly, that fits quite well with the commonly used ones, which say yellow, white, orange, and gold!

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    1. Wrong??? There is no right or wrong in something as subjective as synaesthesia! While the existence of trends is very interesting the fact that they are a *trend* implies that many other people do not have that same experience. So, a yellow Sunday might be fine for some, but it’s not how I see Sunday …doesn’t make my colours wrong, just different.

      Synaesthetic colour associations remain stable in any given synaesthete, even when tested over intervals of up to one year (Baron-Cohen et al., 1993). But does the same grapheme tend to evoke the same colour across different synaesthetes? The answer is no. One synaesthete might see A as red, another might see it as green (Day, 2001). ~ (Ramachandran & Hubbard, 2003)

      …ditto for colours of the days of the week.

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      1. By “wrong”, I mean wrong to me. It’s frustrating to me for me to see your colors, as they are not even close to mine! Sorry for the confusion. 😉 But yes, I do know that there is no right or wrong, just different (that annoys me!).

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    2. So interesting. Have ya’ll heard about the colors associated with days of the week in Thailand? Monday yellow, T-pink, W-green T-orange, F blue, S purple, S red. Not sure why. Off to look now.

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  10. I was talking to friends at work today, and I was amazed that they did not depict a colour for every day of the week!!!
    Monday is blue
    Tuesday is yellow
    Wednesday is green
    Thursday is orange
    Friday is brown
    Saturday is white
    & Sunday is Red

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  11. monday – yellow
    tuesday pink stripey
    wed – grey 5 bar gate
    thurs- red fabric
    fri – green stripes
    sat – brown fabric
    sun blue.

    ive always had these colours. My mum had colours for her days too, as did her mum. I am waiting to see if my young daughter has inherited this interesting condition.

    when i think about it, the months have colours too. And certain words and numbers.
    I love it . Its something outside the norm…

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  12. This is the first time I’ve read that other people see days in colour, so glad I’m not the only one, mine are:
    Monday – black
    Tuesday – green
    Wednesday – blue
    Thursday – orange
    Friday – red
    Saturday – white
    Sunday – yellow

    I also see the months in colours and also the counties in this country (UK).

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  13. Friday is red tired at the end of the week it helps to give a warm boost to make it through
    I like yellow & gold for Sunday the colours of the sun not for wearing though – make me look 100 years old! White and silver for Monday moon colours also pale blue and grey (first day of work) – dark grey or black if you hate your job. Mars the war planet orange red fire and brimstone. Still trying to figure out Wednesday – Wodin god of ? Thursday similar – was he chief god? Head honcho? Tuesday can’t see right now but not very well at the moment. I taste some colours too. Emotions have very strong colours for me too. Am also interested in the colours of the stages of grief/bereavement.

    At a practical level I believe colours can help us – wearing clothes interior decor, flowers in the garden. Colours can also make us ill – those acid colours on some cars for instance. I walked into a supermarket recently with a cheap clothing range and within minutes started feeling sick and head achey from the nasty muddy sickly bright colours on display – had to turn away and leave experiencing actual nausea!

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  14. Hey, I know this post is reeaaallly old but I just had to say something about it! I got freaked out reading this because your descriptions of the days of the week are EXACTLY the same as how I see them. Literally exactly the same. I can’t even begin to understand why… even down to Sunday having a lace around it. How bizarre!! We must be on the same wavelength!! 😀

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  15. I had the day-colour synaesthesia as a kid but it had disappeared by about ten years old. Interesting to read different people’s colours here. Though I haven’t ‘seen’ mine for 40 years I can still picture them.. Black Sunday, bottle-green Monday, maroon Friday, three different shades of yellow for Tue, Wed & Sat, oh and grey-blue Thursday!
    Cheers.

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