We read in last week's parashah about Esau and his interesting connections to the color red. He was born with red skin, and he sold his birthright for red bean soup. In an upcoming parashah, we'll learn that his nation becomes known as Edom - Hebrew for "red." From the very beginning, red was his color.
It's even more interesting to see how that connection has been maintained over such a long period of time. From religion to the military to political ideology, the color red is very prominently on display.
The Significance of the Color Red in Russian CultureTrue to its Edomite origins, no longer is good and evil depicted with white and black in America. Today, among those who still believe in good and evil, red has replaced white while blue has been substituted for black.
Red is a prominent color in Russian culture and history. The Russian word for red, " krasni," was, in the past, also used to describe something beautiful, good or honorable. Today, "krasni" is used to indicate something that is red in color, while "krasivi" is the modern Russian word for “beautiful.” However, many important sites and cultural artifacts still reflect the combined usage of the word, and a name that incorporates this root might still be considered something elevated in status. In fact, the Russian word for excellent -- "prekrasni" --shares the root " kras" with these other words.
Red Square, or "Krasnaya ploshad," is one of the most famous examples of the red/beautiful connection. Red Square is the most important square in Moscow and sits adjacent to the Kremlin. Many people believe that Red Square is so named because communism and Soviet Russia are associated with the color red. But Red Square's name, which may have originally come from the beauty of St. Basil's Cathedral or the beauty of the square itself, predates the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and thus is not the basis for the commonly used term "Reds" for Russian communists.
...The Bolsheviks appropriated the color red to symbolize the blood of the workers, and the red flag of the Soviet Union, with its gold-colored hammer and sickle, is still recognized today. During the revolution, the Red Army (Bolshevik forces) fought the White Army (loyalists to the czar). During the Soviet period, red became a part of daily life from an early age: Virtually all children were members of a communist youth group called the Pioneers from ages 10 to 14 and were required to wear a red scarf around their necks to school every day. Russian communists and Soviets are called Reds in popular culture -- "Better dead than red" was a popular saying that rose to prominence in the U.S. and U.K. in the 1950s.
I came across something else related to Esau's red color which I had never learned before...
"Esau’s skin was so red that Isaac was afraid to circumcise him, deciding to wait until he was older and his complexion improved. Da'at Zekeinim on Genesis 25:25 holds that by the time it became clear that the reddish skin was simply Esau’s natural skin color, Esau refused to be circumcised." (Source)Red is a color very rarely seen in Israel. Apparently, Yishmael isn't much into it either.