Why is everyone wearing purple during Inauguration Week?
There is one standout color in this week's opening events: purple.
Kamala Harris donned the color on inauguration day when she became Vice President, and Jill Biden, the arriving first lady, wore it for the Tuesday night vigil at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool for Americans who have died of COVID-19.
The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate and former first lady Hillary Clinton also wore the color Wednesday. But why?
Viewers refer to the color - a combination of red and blue - as a symbol of unity, a notion that Clinton endorsed in comments to reporters at the Capitol after the swearing-in.
"I wore purple for the purpose because I knew the subject that President Biden was talking about was unity. I thought if you combine red and blue, as we are politically divided in our country, you become purple," said purple Clinton. "I just wanted to send a symbolic message that we have to come together."
Jonathan Cohen, the designer behind Biden's Tuesday night ensemble, shared a message from user @georgeanaux on his Instagram story:
"Red + Blue = Purple," wrote the message. "At this moment it's about unity. Not red against blue, but we all come together as a nation."
Actress Jane Lynch also noticed a color symbolism on Twitter on Wednesday and wrote: "Color: Clintons in purple (red + blue). Bushes in blue (Dems). Obama in red (Repubs). Unity."
Others added that the color represents women's suffrage.
"Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, Kamala Harris ... wear purple tones. The color of women's suffrage," tweeted user @ ktrain_11.
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Former President Bill Clinton arrives with former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on the Western Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington
Harris nodded to women's suffrage by wearing white during her first speech as Vice President-elect in November. The colors honor the women's suffrage movement, which in 1920 led to the ratification of the 19th amendment to the constitution, which gave women the right to vote. The American franchise colors - purple, white, and yellow - symbolized loyalty, purity, and hope.
Others thought Harris' outfit might be a reference to Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to be elected to Congress and whom Harris referred to as a "trailblazer" for her.
"My favorite commenter @cnn @abbydphillip notes that Kamala Harris wears purple - a reference to Shirley Chisholm," tweeted user @JillFilipovic.
"It was the color Shirley Chisholm was wearing and her campaign colors were yellow and purple too," wrote user @FourGenCali.
Unity's style statements come after President Donald Trump and outgoing First Lady Melania Trump made their final farewells Wednesday morning after they left the White House. They don't attend Biden's inauguration - they're breaking a tradition among outgoing presidents from 1877.
Melania Trump also broke tradition by skipping one final duty of the first lady: Jill Biden was not invited for tea and a tour of the White House family neighborhood. The nudge was the first deliberate break in the 100-year tradition of transferring power by the first women in decades.
"In modern history there has always been an invitation; at least that goes back to Bess Truman and Mamie Eisenhower (1952)," says Kate Andersen Brower, author of "First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies". ”
Contributors: The Associated Press; Maria Puente, Christal Hayes
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This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: Inauguration: Why Kamala Harris, Jill Biden Wear Purple
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