In every religion white signifies peace and purity. A white flag denotes peace. Peace does not mean merely stopping wars. It also means mental peace. What is mental peace? It is a state wherein the mind is devoid of any agitations and emotions! This state of mind as well as the peace and purity all of them have their origin in traits of goodness (sattva guna). Goodness and purity are represented by white colour. That is why Saraswati, our Goddess of knowledge, is depicted as wearing white clothes.
The custom of giving white clothes to the bride and groom at the time of the wedding is a blessing to them to start their new life together with peace and selfless love towards each other complete with purity and without any agitations.
In the warrior (Kshatriya) community red-coloured clothes together with turban are worn at the time of the wedding. This colour represents their valour, heroism and bravery, which is the main trait of that class. In other words, it reflects traits of action/ passion (rajo guna), which is their main guna.
There is a close relation between colours and the state of mind. According to the ancient scripture Manasttattva Shastra a person’s nature or character can be assessed based on the colour he most frequently chooses. Because of the influence of the colour on the mind the custom of giving white clothes to newly- weds started.
There is however one main difference between the white clothes worn by a married person and that worn by a widow. The clothes of the married women have a colourful border while those of the widow are devoid of it. This border signifies the attachments and relations of a married woman. Without these, there can be no material life or married life. That is why borderless saree, which denotes lack of bondages, is given to widows. It signifies to them a path of pure and complete detachment and spirituality without any family ties.