by Celeste Roberts
In celebration of Carnival season, let’s explore the symbolism of the Triforce pieces and the colors of Mardi Gras.
Everywhere else, it’s just Tuesday, but today, I’d like to blend two worlds: The Legend of Zelda and my own. The date this article publishes is Mardi Gras, which is a huge part of my region in South Louisiana and even other places around the world (it’s also known as “Carnival,” “Shrove Tuesday,” or even “Pancake Day,” which may be my favorite name for a holiday). It’s the last hurrah before the season of penance and Easter, so indulge while you can!
Evident in the parades, King Cakes, tableaus, and decorations are the colors of Mardi Gras: purple, green, and gold. This trio has been the official color scheme of the holidays since 1892, when the Krewe of Rex in New Orleans assigned meaning to each color: purple represents justice, green represents faith, and gold represents power.
As I passed by homes adorned with these colors and drooled over King Cakes in grocery stores, I began to think of another trio greater than the sum of its parts: the Triforce. Like Mardi Gras colors in my area, images of the Triforce are ubiquitous in Hyrule, from statues to shields to garments. The symbol even bears some mystical lock-picking powers: playing “Zelda’s Lullaby” while standing on top of the Triforce stone in Kakariko Graveyard grants Link access to the Royal Family’s Tomb (a simple t-shirt would have sufficed as a souvenir for this spooky location, but I understand learning the “Sun’s Song” is helpful).
Although the pieces are golden, each triangle possesses a unique virtue: the Triforce of Power at the top, the Triforce of Courage on the right, and the Triforce of Wisdom on the left. If we assign each of the Golden Goddesses and their colors to their respective pieces, then I suppose we could argue each piece has a sub-color–Power embodies Din, who is red; Courage embodies Farore, who is green; and Wisdom embodies Nayru, who is blue.
While reflecting on the meaning of Mardi Gras’ colors, I thought assigning each one to a piece of the Triforce would be a fun exercise.
Let’s start with purple–justice. The color purple is formed from the blending of red and blue, which are both important colors in the Zelda series regarding Din and Nayru, respectively. Hm, the Goddess of Power and the Goddess of Wisdom combined… if we reflect on the meaning of the word justice (fairness and righteousness), those two attributes fit.
Purple has long been associated with royalty, and royals tend to make the laws of the land, like we learn Nayru did in Ocarina of Time when she “poured her wisdom onto the earth and gave the spirit of law to the world.” This means the people in charge should uphold dignity and wisdom in their decisions.
The next question is which character should be associated with this regal hue: Ganondorf or Zelda? The evil king is no dunce, but his actions are far from moral or righteous. Zelda, on the other hand, is both wise and impartial in the face of danger. After all, she surrendered to Zant in Twilight Princess out of fear for the fate of her kingdom. Thus, I would assign the color purple to the Triforce of Wisdom.
Next up is green for faith. In addition to referring to a belief in a higher power or god, faith also means allegiance to one’s duty or a person. Farore, the Goddess of Courage, "with her rich soul, produced all life forms who would uphold the law,” according to the lore shared in Ocarina of Time. Having faith in an entity or a cause takes a tremendous amount of courage, in my opinion, since one risks disappointment or even betrayal.
The Hero of Time is certainly a poster child for “upholding the law” as he smites baddies and rescues innocent people out of loyalty to both Zelda and all of Hyrule (or whichever land he is visiting). Due not only to Link’s signature color but also to his determination to protect Hyrule and give hope to its people, I would say the Triforce of Courage deserves the color green for this additional reason.
Finally, gold represents power. This metal is also viewed as a status symbol, as it forms jewelry, crowns, and even statues. Obviously, we have only one Triforce piece left, Power, to which we can assign this color, but I decided to dig a little deeper into how Din’s color, red, could possibly be related to gold.
A proper citation is needed for this statement, but gold apparently turned a reddish color in ancient times during the smelting process. In Ocarina of Time, we learn "with her strong flaming arms, [Din] cultivated the land and created the red earth." Who else often has red hair in his numerous reincarnations? Ganondorf–and I don’t think he’s dyeing his locks, either.
Maybe he’s born with it, or maybe it’s just fate? Anyhoo, now I want to see the main antagonist of the Zelda series with golden hair. If Link and Zelda can pull that color off, why can’t Ganondorf? Maybe this is another idea for a future article…
So, what do you think about my reasoning for the color associations? I don’t think we’ll see Zelda, Link, or Ganondorf riding in any Mardi Gras parades, but perhaps if they want to branch out of their usual color scheme, they can enjoy the festive colors of this celebratory season.
Does your area observe Mardi Gras or any unique holidays? What colors are assigned to those celebrations? I’d love to hear what other colors you would give the pieces of the Triforce and why, so please let me know on Twitter!