March 01, 2012

Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue

In fact, this column didn’t come out of the blue (ни с того, ни с сего). It stems from the fact that 2012 is the Year of the Water Dragon (Водяной Дракон), and blue is one of its favorite colors.

Well, of course, there is also the fact that translating this color can cause headaches: “blue” in Russian can be either dark blue (синий) or light blue (голубой).

For its part, синий has a special place in Russian folklore and history, as the color is believed to have ominous properties. Ivan the Terrible harbored a mortal fear of blue-eyed people (смертельно боялся людей с синими глазами), believing that meeting such a person didn’t bode well, as they might сглазить (jinx) him. Meanwhile, голубой was historically believed to have mostly positive connotations.

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