If you’ve ever seen blue paint on a porch ceiling and wondered what it meant, here is the unique history behind the color choice.
Painting a porch ceiling blue originated in the American South around 200 years ago, with colors ranging from a light “sky” blue to a greenish-blue.
The practice traces back to the Gullah Geechee people, descendants of Central and West African slaves, who were living in the low country of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.
Gullah folklore explains that ghosts — often referred to as “haints” (and pronounced “haunts”) in the Creole dialect — were unable to cross water.
The Gullah Geechee people would paint exterior portions of their homes blue, including porch ceilings, shutters, doors, and window frames, in an effort to repel evil spirits.
The “haint blue” color was meant to mimic the water that spirits could not cross.
The Gullah tradition of painting porch ceilings blue lives on in many Southern states today, although many people likely don’t know the true story behind it.
BobVila reports: “Blue porch ceilings also appeared in the Northwest (where the Aurora Colony, a Christian commune, was founded) as well as on East Coast Colonial and Victorian homes from Philadelphia to Boston.”