Have you ever passed by a Southern home with a front porch clearly visible and noticed the ceiling painted blue? Truth be told, from an outsider’s perspective it seems to be an odd thing to want to paint a ceiling blue, but once you come to notice one with the light blue shade, you’ll find that the rest have followed suit on the street. Is this someone’s trendy touch to their home or is there a deeper meaning?
This blue is no ordinary blue. For over 300 years Southerners have been painting their porch ceilings Haint Blue out of tradition and slight superstition. From seaside towns and coastal gems, to land locked cities like Atlanta, you can find this blue ceiling on a number of Southern porches in a variety of cool misty blue shades to bright turquoises. The haint blue ceiling, is a multi-century old tradition started from the Gullah people who brought this superstition over from Africa.
To understand why it is called Haint Blue you first need to know what a Haint is. A Haint is a restless spirit that has not yet moved on to the afterlife. Haints tend to be mischievous and dubious and will enter your home and wreak havoc on your family and your belongings. Essentially you don’t want a visit from a haint as they have some animosity lingering and will cause stress and frights to your children. However, haints have a weakness, they are afraid of water. The blue of the water scares them, and they tend to stay away from anything that looks like water and is colored as such.
So the Gullah people decided to keep haints out of their home they would paint their porch ceilings blue. The haints who are then floating above a home would see this color on the porch ceiling and keep away from that house. Protecting the family inside from the haunting haints and their destructive tendencies.
Although the superstition of Haints and their mischievous actions have waned in the past decades, the tradition remains to paint your ceiling a light blue when you have a porch in the South. Some claim that it keeps the porch cooler, others claim it’s a repellent for bugs and yet some are hell-bent that it extends the daylight hours. Whichever way you want to spin it, the Haint Blue ceiling has become iconic to Southern exteriors and coastal towns.