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Haints on Halloween

While it is not exactly Halloween we were gifted with a beautiful weekend for painting. As the project of painting the exterior has gone on I have realized just how many colors are actually incorporated into the look of this house. Among these is a pale blue on the ceiling over two overhangs.I remember a passing comment about it being a historical tradition but had not given it much thought beyond that. As we were painting on Sunday my mother called it “haint paint” and said that it is supposed to keep evil spirits at bay.

Some quick Googling reveals that haint paint or “haint blue” is originally a Southern tradition in the United States. Haint blue is usually a pale blue-green color, although many shades are used, typically to better match the color scheme of the home. Blue paint did not come into popular use until the accidental discovery of Prussian blue (an affordable alternative to lapis lazuli) in the early eighteenth century.

Another superstition is that the blue helps keep bugs away. While there is no scientific reasoning behind the hue contributing to this, the belief may have some historic roots. Milk paint typically included a lye component which does repel insects and may have contributed to the suspicion.

While we do not expect to keep away evil spirits (ghost or insect) with our new paint job, we are certainly enjoying the renewed look of the overhang.

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