What Does Purple Rain Symbolize? Exploring the Meaning Behind Prince’s Iconic Song

Purple rain symbolizes a lot of different things to different people. For some, it’s a nostalgic reminder of the late great Prince and his unforgettable music. For others, it represents a time in their own lives when things felt uncertain, or perhaps even a bit magical. From the lyrics of the iconic song to the vivid imagery of the movie it inspired, purple rain has come to embody something deeper, more profound, and more mysterious than a simple meteorological phenomenon.

So what does purple rain symbolize? The answer is as complicated as the man who made it famous. Some believe that it represents the ever-changing nature of life, with its ups and downs and constant shifts in perspective. Others see it as a metaphor for the creative process, as ideas materialize before our very eyes in a swirl of improvisation and inspiration. Still, others feel that purple rain is a reminder that we are all connected, that our lives are inextricably linked to one another and to the larger world around us. Whatever your interpretation, one thing is clear: purple rain is more than just a song, a movie, or a weather phenomenon—it’s a symbol of something much deeper and much more meaningful.

Whatever purple rain means to you, there’s no denying its universal appeal. From its haunting melody to its vivid lyrics, this iconic song has touched the hearts and souls of millions around the world. It’s a testament to the power of music, to the power of art, and to the power of one man’s incredible vision. So the next time you see purple rain falling from the sky, take a moment to appreciate the magic of it all. You never know what kind of inspiration it might bring.

The Origins of the Symbol of Purple in Art

Purple is a color that has long been associated with royalty, power, and luxury. In ancient times, purple dye was extracted from the Murex sea snail, a rare and expensive process that made the color an exclusive sign of wealth and status.

Artists throughout history have used purple to convey a range of different meanings and ideas, from spiritual and mystical concepts to themes of opulence and extravagance. Here are a few examples:

  • In Christianity, purple is often used to represent royalty and the sovereignty of God. It is frequently seen in depictions of Jesus and other holy figures, as well as in the vestments worn by priests and bishops.
  • In classical mythology, purple was associated with the god Jupiter, who was often depicted wearing a purple robe. This helped to establish the color’s reputation as a symbol of power and authority.
  • During the Renaissance, purple was prized for its ability to convey a sense of luxury and refinement. Many wealthy patrons commissioned portraits of themselves wearing purple clothing or surrounded by purple objects in order to show off their wealth and status.

Today, purple continues to be a popular color in art and design, representing everything from creativity and imagination to loyalty and spirituality. Whatever the context, the distinctiveness and richness of the color make it a powerful tool for communicating deep emotions and complex ideas.

The significance of rain in cultural symbolism

Rain has been a symbol in various cultures and traditions for centuries. In some cultures, it is an omen of change and transformation, while in others, it represents rebirth, purification, and fertility. Rain is also often associated with emotions such as sadness or joy, and its symbolism varies depending on the context in which it is used.

  • Renewal and Rebirth: In many cultures, rain is seen as a symbol of renewal and rebirth. Its ability to bring new life to plants and crops makes it a powerful symbol of regeneration and growth. For example, in Hinduism, the god Indra is associated with rain, and his presence is believed to bring fertility and abundance. Similarly, in ancient Egyptian mythology, the god Osiris was said to have a close connection with the rain, which was seen as his tears cleansing and renewing the earth.
  • Purification and Cleansing: Rain is often seen as a symbol of purification and cleansing, both physically and spiritually. In many religions, water is used in rituals to purify and cleanse the body and spirit. Similarly, rain is believed to cleanse and purify the earth, washing away dirt and impurities. In Japanese Shintoism, for example, ceremonial rain dances are performed to purify the mind and spirit.
  • Change and Transformation: Rain can also be seen as a symbol of change and transformation. Its ability to transform a dry and barren landscape into a lush and fertile one makes it a powerful symbol of transformation and renewal. In many cultures, rain is associated with the changing of the seasons, and its arrival heralds the beginning of a new cycle. In Hinduism, for example, the monsoon season is seen as a time of new beginnings and fresh starts, as the rain nourishes the earth and prepares it for new growth.

These are just a few examples of the many ways rain has been used as a symbol in different cultures and traditions. Rain is a powerful symbol that has the ability to evoke a range of emotions and meanings, depending on the context in which it is used.

The Symbolism of Purple Rain:

Prince’s song “Purple Rain” has become an iconic symbol of 80s pop culture, but what does the purple rain symbolize? The lyrics of the song suggest that the purple rain represents a form of spiritual transformation or rebirth. The color purple is often associated with royalty and spiritual transformation, and the rain is a symbol of renewal and cleansing. The song’s lyrics suggest that the “purple rain” is a form of spiritual cleansing that brings about a new beginning and a fresh start.

Prince himself never explicitly explained the meaning behind “Purple Rain,” leaving it up to interpretation. However, considering the song’s themes of spirituality and renewal, it is clear that the purple rain holds deep symbolic significance in the context of the song.

Symbolism Meaning
Purple Royalty and spiritual transformation
Rain Renewal and rebirth

Together, these symbols create a powerful image of spiritual transformation and renewal. The purple rain represents a new beginning and a fresh start, a chance to cleanse the spiritual self and emerge transformed.

The History and Impact of Prince’s Song and Album “Purple Rain”

Prince’s “Purple Rain” album and song have become iconic in the world of music, with its deep and layered symbolism that continues to captivate audiences even decades after its release.

One of the most significant elements of both the song and album is the color purple. In fact, many believe that “purple” was more than just a mere choice of color and was symbolic of something much deeper.

  • For Prince, purple was the color of royalty and power. He often incorporated the color into his wardrobe, album art, and stage design. It was a statement that he was in control and had the power to do as he pleased, something that is reflected in the lyrics of “Purple Rain.”
  • Additionally, purple has long been associated with spirituality and mysticism. In many cultures, it symbolizes regality, divinity, and transcendent consciousness. Prince himself had a deeply spiritual disposition, and it is said that he saw “Purple Rain” as a testament to his faith in a higher power.
  • Lastly, purple was a color that represented the union of masculine and feminine energy. Prince was someone who embraced both sides of himself and was not afraid to express his feminine side, as evidenced in his androgynous fashion sense and lyrics. The use of purple may have been his way of expressing this balance of energies and showing that true power comes from embracing both.

Undoubtedly, “Purple Rain” was a groundbreaking album and song, leaving a significant impact on the music industry and pop culture as a whole. It was a product of Prince’s unique vision and artistry, which continues to influence generations of artists and music aficionados today.

It’s no wonder that after all these years, the power and mystery of “Purple Rain” continue to captivate and intrigue listeners. In a world where everything seems to be superficial and fleeting, “Purple Rain” remains a testament to the enduring power of music to touch the soul.

Below is a table summarizing the critical facts about “Purple Rain”

Title Artist Release Date Genre Label
Purple Rain Prince & The Revolution June 25, 1984 R&B, funk, rock Warner Bros.

There’s no denying the impact that “Purple Rain” has had on music history and the broader culture. It’s one of those rare albums that captures a moment in time and helps to define it.

The interpretation of purple rain as a metaphor for emotional release and healing

Prince’s “Purple Rain” is a masterpiece that captures the raw and intense emotions of heartbreak, loss, and ultimately, healing. The song is a metaphor for emotional release and healing, and the concept of “purple rain” is central to this theme.

  • Purple represents emotional turmoil: Purple is often associated with emotions such as sadness, grief, and introspection. In “Purple Rain,” the color symbolizes the emotional turmoil that the protagonist is experiencing.
  • Rain represents emotional release: Rain is a common symbol for emotional release. It is as if the tears we shed during a difficult time are being matched by the rain pouring down from the heavens. In “Purple Rain,” the protagonist is able to release his emotions through his music, which is the ultimate form of emotional expression.
  • The number four represents healing: The repeated lyric “I only wanted to see you bathing in the purple rain” is repeated four times throughout the song. The number four is often associated with stability and order, and in this context, it represents the process of healing. The protagonist is able to reach a state of emotional stability and find order in the chaos of his emotions through his music.

The “purple rain” metaphor is so powerful because it captures the process of emotional release and healing in a way that is both poetic and relatable. The song shows us that even in our darkest moments, we can find solace in our art, and that through our art, we can find the strength to heal and move forward.

Symbol Meaning
Purple Emotional turmoil
Rain Emotional release
Number four Healing

Ultimately, “Purple Rain” is a testament to the power of music as therapy. It shows us that when we are able to express our emotions through our art, we can find healing and solace in even the darkest of moments.

The role of the color purple in religious and spiritual contexts

Throughout history, the color purple has held a significant place in various religious and spiritual contexts. Its symbolism can represent different meanings across different cultures and beliefs. Here are some examples:

  • Royalty and power: In ancient times, purple dye was rare and expensive, making it a symbol of power and wealth. This is why it was often used by royalty, including Roman emperors and European monarchs.
  • Purity and holiness: For Christians, purple represents penitence and fasting. In the Catholic Church, it is the color worn by bishops and represents their ordained status. During Lent and Advent, purple is a liturgical color used to represent repentance and preparation for the coming of Christ.
  • Spiritual enlightenment: In Hinduism and Buddhism, purple is associated with the crown chakra, which is located at the top of the head and represents spiritual enlightenment.

But what about the significance of purple rain?

The meaning of purple rain:

Purple rain is a phrase that gained popularity through Prince’s hit song from 1984. In the song, the purple rain is described as a type of rain that is invigorating and transformative, with the ability to make one’s life better. Some people interpret purple rain as a metaphor for the Holy Spirit or a higher power that brings new life and positive change.

Symbolism Meaning
Purple rain New life, positive change, the Holy Spirit
Purple Royalty, power, penitence, spiritual enlightenment

Overall, the color purple holds different cultural meanings, and even the phrase “purple rain” can have different interpretations depending on the context. However, regardless of its symbolism, it is a color that signifies spirituality and can inspire a sense of reverence and awe.

The symbolism of rain as a purifying and cleansing force in various mythologies

Many cultures throughout history have viewed rain as a symbol of purity and purification. This symbolic significance can be seen in various mythologies, where rain is frequently associated with the gods and goddesses who were believed to control it.

  • In Hindu mythology, the god Indra is said to be the lord of rain and thunderstorms. His ability to control the rains was seen as a symbol of his great power and strength.
  • In ancient Egyptian mythology, the god Osiris was associated with the flooding of the Nile river, which was believed to bring fertility to the land. The waters were thought to wash away impurities and bring new life to the earth.
  • In Mayan mythology, the god Chac was responsible for bringing the rains that were necessary for agriculture and daily life. The Maya believed that Chac’s tears represented the rain that fell from the sky.

One of the most powerful symbols of rain is its ability to cleanse and purify. In many cultures, rain is believed to wash away impurities and negativity, leaving behind a sense of renewal and freshness. This is seen in various religious practices, where rain is used as a form of purification.

In some Native American cultures, for example, rain ceremonies are performed to cleanse the body and spirit. These ceremonies are often held in times of great need, such as during times of drought or illness, and are intended to bring rain and healing to the community.

Overall, the symbolism of rain as a purifying and cleansing force is a powerful and universal concept that has been recognized by many cultures throughout history. Whether it is seen as a gift from the gods or a natural phenomenon, rain has the ability to bring new life and renewal to the world around us.

Mythology Symbolic representation of rain
Hindu mythology Power and strength
Ancient Egyptian mythology Fertility, cleansing, and renewal
Mayan mythology Necessary for agriculture and daily life, a representation of the god’s tears

As we can see, the symbolism of rain is a rich and complex topic that has been explored by many different cultures and religions throughout history. Whether it is seen as a symbol of power and strength, or as a force of cleansing and renewal, rain has been recognized as a powerful and transformative force in the natural world.

The use of purple rain imagery in fashion and design

Purple rain is not just a songtitle or the color of a little girl’s favorite dress anymore. It has become a popular symbol in the fashion and design industry. Here, we’ll talk about how Purple Rain is used and represented in fashion and design.

The number 7

The number 7 is known as a mystical and lucky number in many cultures. It is said to represent perfection and completeness. In Prince’s song, “Purple Rain,” he mentions “the seven wonders of the world” which may allude to the idea of completeness and perfection.

In the fashion and design industry, the number 7 is often represented through the use of 7 shades of purple or through the repetition of 7 patterns in a design. This not only pays homage to Prince’s song but also represents the mystical and lucky quality of the number 7.

Fashion and design

  • Accessories – Purple rain is often represented in accessories like jewelry, hair accessories, and bags. These items usually have the color purple and raindrop-shaped patterns to depict the idea of purple rain.
  • Clothing – Many clothing brands have released collections inspired by Prince’s song. The designs range from simple raindrop patterns to shirts with the lyrics of the song spelled out in purple letters.
  • Interior design – Purple rain is also seen in interior design. Beddings, curtains, and other home decor items have been designed with purple and raindrop patterns, giving a fresh and eye-catching look to any room.


Purple rain is a symbol that has captured the hearts of many people, especially those who loved Prince’s music. It represents a mystical quality that is both enchanting and empowering. In fashion and design, it has become a statement and a trend that shows no sign of slowing down.

Pros Cons
It is a unique and captivating symbol that is both mystical and empowering. Some people may not like the color purple or the raindrop patterns.
It is a great way to pay homage to Prince’s legacy and music. Some may argue that using Purple Rain as a trend is a form of commercialism.
It allows for creative design and fashion choices. Overuse of the symbol may lead to saturation and may lose its impact.

Overall, Purple Rain is a symbol that has found its way into the world of fashion and design. It is a unique and captivating representation that has been embraced by many people. It is a great homage to Prince’s legacy, and it allows for creative and eye-catching design and fashion choices.

The Influence of Prince on Contemporary Music and Culture

Prince was an artist who made an indelible impact on the music industry, pioneering a new kind of sound that combined funk, pop, rock, and soul, and a style that was risqué, flamboyant, and androgynous. His music is timeless, and many of his songs still play on radios worldwide. Moreover, he continues to inspire artists across the musical spectrum, making him a cultural icon.

Prince’s Purple Rain

Prince’s sixth studio album, Purple Rain, was a landmark album that topped the charts for months and became the soundtrack for a generation. This album also inspired a film of the same name, for which Prince wrote the screenplay. The movie won an Academy Award and catapulted him to worldwide fame.

The title track of the album, “Purple Rain,” is a nine-minute epic that moves through melancholic piano, powerful guitar solos, and euphoric chorus, along with Prince’s singular vocals. This song has become an anthem for overcoming adversity, heartbreak, and loss, giving hope for a better tomorrow.

Purple has always been associated with royalty, luxury, and distinction. For Prince, however, purple held a deeper meaning – a spiritual and mystical connotation. Throughout his career, he used purple to plan his sets, wardrobe, and music videos, which he believed gave his music a unique and enigmatic identity.

The Number 8

One of Prince’s lesser-known obsessions is the number 8. He integrated it into his music and life in several ways. The number 8 appears in several of his song titles, such as “1999,” “Little Red Corvette” (which has eight letters), and “I Would Die 4 U” (which has eight letters when you substitute “4” for “for”).

Prince’s fascination with the number 8 stems from the fact that it is a symbol of infinity, and represents the cyclical nature of life. His belief in reincarnation is likely the root of his affinity for the number, as he believed that our souls could reborn countless times.

Moreover, the artist preferred to record eight songs per album side, which he considered the perfect amount of songs for an album. In addition, several of the artist’s official logos also feature the number 8.

Prince’s Legacy

Prince’s influence on contemporary music and culture is immeasurable. He repeatedly broke barriers and defied genre conventions, transcending race, sexuality, and societal norms. His music has touched millions of people around the world, inspiring them to be passionate, creative, and unapologetically themselves.

Prince’s legacy is still alive today, with countless artists paying homage to him by covering his songs, imitating his fashion style, and drawing inspiration from his ethos. He was a true original who left an indelible mark on the music industry and popular culture.

The Reception and Legacy of “Purple Rain” in Popular Culture

“Purple Rain,” the sixth studio album by the late musical genius Prince, was released on June 25, 1984. It was a massive commercial and critical success, selling over 20 million copies worldwide and earning Prince an Oscar for Best Original Song Score. The album’s title track and accompanying film of the same name became cultural touchstones, encapsulating the glamour and excess of the 1980s.

  • The album’s themes of love, redemption, and pain struck a chord with audiences, particularly with its epic closing track “Purple Rain.”
  • The album’s fusion of rock, pop, and funk, along with its innovative use of synthesizers and drum machines, influenced countless musicians in the decades that followed.
  • The film “Purple Rain” also had a lasting impact, showcasing Prince’s musical talent and charisma on the big screen. Its depiction of the Minneapolis music scene, as well as its unflinching look at domestic violence, was praised for its authenticity and honesty.

One recurring symbol in “Purple Rain” is the number 9. This can be seen in several aspects of the album and film:

Aspect Symbolism
Length of album 39:26 (3+9+2+6 = 20, 2+0 = 2)
Closing track “Purple Rain” is 8 minutes and 41 seconds long (8+4+1 = 13, 1+3 = 4)
Opening track “Let’s Go Crazy” begins with the lines “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” The word “life” has 4 letters.
Number of songs on album There are 9 songs on “Purple Rain.”
Apollonia’s character name Apollonia’s character in the film is named “Apollonia Kotero.” Her last name has 6 letters, and the sum of the digits of her first name “Apollonia” (1+6+3+3+6+6+5+1) is 31 (3+1 = 4).
Performance scene The performance scene in the film takes place on August 3rd, which is the 215th day of the year (2+1+5 = 8).

While Prince never publicly explained the significance of the number 9 in “Purple Rain,” fans and scholars have speculated that it may represent completion or perfection, as 9 is the highest single-digit number. Whatever its meaning, the album and film continue to captivate audiences and cement Prince’s legacy as one of the greatest musicians of all time.

Alternative interpretations of the symbolism of purple rain beyond Prince’s work

While Prince’s “Purple Rain” has undoubtedly left a significant impact on the symbol of purple rain throughout pop culture, there are alternative interpretations of the symbol that have developed in various contexts. Here are some examples:

  • Spiritual/Religious Symbolism: In some spiritual and religious traditions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, purple is often associated with the third eye chakra, which represents intuition and perception beyond the physical realm. In this context, purple rain may symbolize spiritual awakening or a powerful vision.
  • Nature Symbolism: Purple is not a common color in nature, but there are a few natural phenomena that can be associated with purple rain. For example, the northern lights, also known as aurora borealis, can appear to have a purple hue. Purple rain may also be a metaphor for a rare and exceptional occurrence in nature.
  • Social Justice Symbolism: Purple rain has been used as a symbol for various social justice movements. For example, in 2012, a group of Democratic women wore purple to President Obama’s State of the Union address to show support for equal pay for women. In this context, purple rain may represent progress towards equality and justice.

Another interpretation of purple rain beyond Prince’s work can be explored through examining the lyrics of other songs about purple rain. For example, in the song “Purple Raindrops” by rapper Royce da 5’9″, he uses the symbol to represent the tears shed in memory of deceased loved ones. In this context, purple rain can symbolize grief, loss, and remembrance.

Symbolism Meaning
Intuition and Perception Spiritual awakening or a powerful vision
Rare Occurrence in Nature A metaphor for a rare and exceptional occurrence in nature
Social Justice Progress towards equality and justice
Grief and Loss Symbol of tears shed in memory of deceased loved ones

In conclusion, while “Purple Rain” by Prince remains a significant cultural touchstone, the symbol of purple rain has taken on various meanings beyond his work. From spiritual awakening to social justice, purple rain has become a multifaceted symbol that speaks to a variety of human experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions: What Does Purple Rain Symbolize?

Q: What does the phrase “purple rain” mean?
A: “Purple rain” is a phrase created by the late musician Prince in his song and movie of the same name. It is often interpreted to mean a type of sadness or mourning, as if raining purple tears.

Q: Why did Prince choose the color purple?
A: Prince had a personal attachment to the color purple, which he saw as representing royalty, spirituality, and creativity.

Q: What themes does “purple rain” symbolize?
A: Some common themes associated with “purple rain” include melancholy, loss, rebirth, and hope in the face of adversity.

Q: Is “purple rain” a religious symbol?
A: While the use of purple is significant in many religious traditions, “purple rain” as a symbol is not inherently religious.

Q: How did “purple rain” become such an iconic symbol?
A: The popularity of Prince’s song and movie helped cement “purple rain” as a cultural touchstone, while the emotional resonance of the symbol has led to its enduring appeal.

Q: What other artists have used “purple rain” as a symbol in their work?
A: Many musicians and creatives have referenced “purple rain” in their work, from Madonna to Kendrick Lamar, and it remains a potent symbol to this day.

Q: Can “purple rain” have a positive connotation?
A: While “purple rain” often connotes sadness or loss, it can also represent the hope and growth that can come from experiencing difficult emotions.

Closing Thoughts: Thanks for Reading!

We hope this article has shed some light on the powerful symbolism of “purple rain.” Whether you are a fan of Prince or simply drawn to the beauty of the phrase, there is no denying its impact on our cultural imagination. So the next time you hear that familiar refrain, remember the depth and complexity behind those two simple words. Thanks for reading, and be sure to visit us again soon!