The exterior work is really moving along and one of the biggest changes has been with the wraparound porch. The columns have been repaired, the banisters have been leveled, and everything is getting a fresh coat of paint. I have learned that tradition dictates for the the porch floor to be painted grey and the porch ceiling painted blue. And it is the blue ceiling that I am here to write about because I learned a little something Southern that I had never known before (yes, I’m a Virginia girl don’t judge, there are just a few too many Southern traditions and I can’t keep up with all of them…plus this one originates just a little farther south).
The ceiling of our porch has been painted Benjamin Moore’s Harbor Haze which is a beautiful shade of pale blue that is so pale it almost looks as if the blue of the siding is reflecting onto the ceiling. I have tried to capture it in a photo but it is so hard to do it justice with a cell phone (I’ll still share it but wanted to make sure you all understand I am not a photographer). Take my word for it, it’s beautiful but so understated that when you finally do notice it, you point it out to everyone walking by even though they know fully well that the porch ceiling is blue because they were there when it was painted in the first place.
So, now, on to the “why” the porch ceiling is painted blue. Some of you may know this answer already so bear with me because I find it fascinating and I think some of our relatives in the North and Midwest will think so as well. There are actually a few reasons it is said porch ceilings are painted blue. One is that it keeps the bugs away because they think it is the sky. That’s cool but kind of boring and I have yet to discover if that’s true or not.
The second reason porch ceilings are painted blue comes from the Gullah-Geechee people in the Lowcountry of the South. The Gullah would paint the ceilings of their quarters blue (along with doors, windows, and shutters) in order to ward off ghosts. The Gullah believed that the blue would confuse the ghosts into thinking it was water which they could not pass through. The word “ghost” in the Gullah language is “haint” which is where the term “haint blue” comes from. Eventually, white Southerners adopted the tradition and while it has since lost much of it’s spiritual significance the influence is still there.