With so many colors in the option, the yellow color is the only color that is chosen for the smiley faces, rubber duckies, and even the sun. Though you should note that the sun is white when it is viewed by us. For most of us, our preferred and favorite color is yellow. However, this favoritism can be personal, but in human history, yellow stands for heresy, jealousy, sin, and gutlessness.

Theories behind yellow being the representation of human weakness

No theories can determine as to why yellow had been chosen as the color for the representation of human weakness and immorality. A fact to be noted is that in the Early Middle Ages (5-10 centuries) it had been used for the depiction of the divine light in manuscripts as well as art. Even Jesus was shown with blond hair. Though, High Middle Ages (11-15th centuries), things started to become different.

However, it has never been cleared out why yellow was selected as a part of the Abilgensian Inquisition (mid-13th century). It began in the year the 1100s in France, Cathar heretics who were reluctant were enforced to put on the yellow crosses. This also means as a part of self-punishment. Likewise, Jews were forced to wear two yellow badges during the days of Umayyad Caliph Umar II (8th century). As time passed by, yellow was enforced to their rings, circles, patches, badges, and hats.

When the 14th century came, Venetian prostitutes were also supposed to wear yellow. With the Spanish Inquisition from the year 1478-1834, heretics had to wear tunics of yellow cloth named Sanbenito. Notably, yellow still was able to retain a connotation concerning reckless and sensational journalism; its earliest appearance in an English language publication was The Daily News (London) (Mar 2,  1898).

With the coming years, yellow had been recognized as a way of jealousy, sin, and other different things. Though, it is not evident that when the color yellow became a color of sorrow and mindlessness. There have been suggestions that yellow-bellied that means a coward would have been inspired by chicken egg yolks as yellow and chicken as a coward. Though, this definition can’t be true as the chicken wasn’t in the picture until the mid-20th century.

A thing that’s more captivating yet no less enthralling, hypotheses say that yellow-bellied (meaning coward) was the inspiration for a person who was referred with fake courage. Moreover, various theories say yellow color being a coward as well as color for the gutless. So, it has nowhere proven that the color has something unsymbolic to it.

It is said that persons who have yellow guts show fake courage, which borrows from the definitions that define yellow as falsehood. It is reasonable despite being the fact that for the 19th-century, guts or gutsy means greedy. The definition of guts began gaining importance as courageous around 1893, a few decades before the first described instance of yellow-bellied.

This article explained that yellow-bellied and color is often considered as a sign of jealous people, people who lack guts. But, the reality is somewhat twisted. Yellow is a great and commendable color that has also been used to make people smile with the help of smileys! As we go along with the history, the yellow color would always be considered as a person who lacks courage!