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Ever wonder why so many roofs in Charleston are a light, blue color? It’s not a coincidence. You can find “haint blue” all over Charleston, whether on some of the most historic houses or just your traditional single-family homes throughout the Peninsula. While it does have a charming appeal, there’s more to the iconic color than many people would realize.
Now mimicked by paint companies, the first-ever “haint blue” is said to have originated in Gullah Culture in the Carolinas hundreds of years ago. The Gullah Geechee people painted their doors, window frames, shutters, and their porch ceilings as a means of protection. The light blue is believed to have the power to protect homeowners by chasing away evil spirits or ghosts. While many hear this and are quick to judge, no one should be so certain in a city known for its historic, haunted streets.
Even for those that don’t believe in the spirits, the light blue also brings a charming touch to any porch. It is also said that blue paint is believed to keep bugs and birds from nesting. The blue resembles the color of the sky, a place bugs and birds wouldn’t naturally settle or nest.
Whether or not you believe in the evil spirits that may be roaming around the cobble-stone streets of Charleston, the shade known as “haint blue” can add a charming and peaceful accent to any porch, even outside of the Lowcountry. The next time you’re wandering around Downtown Charleston, remember to look up at the porch ceilings to witness true Lowcountry culture.