Have you ever heard of something called haint paint? Specifically haint blue?
My husband and I returned from a visit to a distant relative in Louisiana. While out walking in this relative’s neighbourhood we noticed, a large number of houses had painted the ceilings of their porches a light greenish blue.
Upon returning to my relative’s property, I noted her porch ceiling painted in this shade of blue.
We asked her what it might mean that her house and so many others in the neighbourhood seemed to have all the porch ceilings the same colour. She seemed a bit startled by our question and quickly said it was something called “haint blue” and it is a tradition in the South for good luck.
When I tried to get additional details, she hastily changed the subject. I did not want to pressure our host, but I would love to know more.
Any insight would be appreciated Saveta.
S.R. Brantford Ontario
Dear S.R. Thank you for emailing an interesting question.
Yes, I have heard of haint blue, and it is rooted in an old tradition primarily practiced in the Southern United States, of painting the porch ceiling of houses a greenish blue colour.
Haint blue is not specifically used for creating good luck as your relative hastily conveyed….
The tradition follows that porch ceilings were routinely painted this colour to prevent negative spiritual activity within a property.
Additionally, haint is not some kind of slang for haunted, but rather haints is a name given to restless spirits of the dead, that for a variety of reasons have not moved on from this physical world.
Another curious detail regarding the use of haint blue, this particular shade of greenish blue was said to resemble the colour of water, and the belief holds that “spirits” are unable to cross water.
Therefore, utilizing this colour would serve to intimidate the spirts in question into hesitating to cross this water-colour barrier and enter to haunt a house.
Finally, my thoughts are that your relative was perhaps feeling a bit self-conscious about how you might react to the true information regarding the use of haint blue.
My experience is many of these kinds of traditions are held with reverence and the people holding these traditions do not wish to share, readily with others they fear would not appreciate the history and perceived value behind the tradition.
Perhaps, consider broaching the subject next time you communicate with this relative and deliberately approach her with the idea that you were intrigued by what she said about haint blue and did some of your own research and found the history fascinating and would love to know more.
She may very well surprise you by opening up on haint blue and other equally delightful energetic traditions of the South.