Han Hai Language Studio

Colours and Chinese Superstitions

Colours, superstitions and meanings

#111 Colours and Chinese Superstition

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Just like our previous post which talks about number and Chinese superstitions, colours play a big part as well in the Chinese culture. Certain colours are considered lucky while others are not, and certain colours have meanings as well.

 

Lucky Colours

Red

This is the most popular colour not just in China, but in countries that include many Chinese too, such as Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. It represents good luck, success and happiness. This is why especially during the Lunar New Year, you might notice that there are so many objects in red – lanterns, red packets, red bag, red couplets, and red outfit. In some cases, people even wear red undergarments!

It is also the main colour used in traditional Chinese weddings, with the bride and groom wearing red traditional Chinese clothing, and the double happiness “囍” cut out in red as well.

In China, red couplets remain pasted on the front door even after Lunar New Year, as people believe it can bring safety and luck in daily life.

Yellow

This colour represents royalty and power. Emperors in ancient China are often dressed in yellow or gold, with patterns of dragons sew onto their robes and clothing. The dragon throne of the emperor is also decked in gold. Besides, the colour is also often used to decorate temples and palaces.

In modern day, gold packet is used alongside red packets during Lunar New Year. Gold jewellery is often seen on the older generation. However, gold necklace, bracelet or anklet is also given when a newborn baby arrives to the world.

 

Unlucky Colours/Colours with negative meaning

White

This is the colour for mourning. From the past to present days, white is worn when mourning the death of a loved one. White chrysanthemum is a popular choice of flower to used for a funeral (so please remember to never present this flower as a gift to someone).

Green

While green is not considered an unlucky colour, it does have a negative meaning, especially when you are a man wearing a green hat (have you guess it yet?) 戴绿帽, literally translates to “wearing the green hat”, but it means infidelity, that a man’s wife is unfaithful to him. This word is used only for the males.

 

The above colours, their superstitions and meanings are the same across China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia etc. Such superstitions are set by our ancient ancestors, but it is interesting to see how it still holds its roots deeply in people’s mind.

August 2, 2017

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Founded in 2010, Han Hai Language Studio is a boutique language school located at Somerset Road & Market Street. Han Hai's mission is to promote Chinese culture and help non-Chinese speakers to master this beautiful Asian language. GET STARTED NOW
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