In the South, there is a long standing tradition of painting porch ceilings blue. It is an old belief that a particular shade of blue called “haint blue” will repel evil spirits. Haint blue as also used on window shutters and frames.
Haint Blue is also know to be a very effective bug repellant. It is said that this blue color extends the visual “sky” and will keep away wasps, bees and more. From a purely aesthetic viewpoint, the soft blue is calming and creates an open feeling to the porch.
The defined porches can be found all across the U.S. in the South. Ceilings of slave quarters in Savannah Georgia and porches across South Carolina into Beaufort reflect the protective haint blue.
A haint is a ghost or evil spirit that originated from the beliefs of the Gullah Geechee people, descendants of African slaves, who lived in the Low Country and barrier islands off Georgia, the Carolinas and North Florida. The “Haint” (haunt or spirit) was considered a restless spirit caught between life and death, that would find a home to haunt and create trouble and evil.
There isone issue with a Haint – they cannot cross water. The blue ceilings and window frames would keep them away from that house.
After 300 years of this haint blue practice, the blue porch ceiling has become a tradition. There are several variations that can be used to “haint” proof the porch.
The original exact formula is unknown. Sherwin Williams has a blue called Balmy and has published an article on the practice. So, when painting your porch, perhaps you might consider the blue color called “Haint”.
By Renae Jensen