Lucky Colors in China

Lucky red Chinese New Year lanternsLucky red Chinese New Year lanterns

Colors are important to Chinese culture as they are endowed with lucky meanings. The three main lucky colors considered lucky in people's daily lives as well as on special occasions are red, yellow, and green.

We have also covered color combinations preferred in China. Lastly, we have provided some insight into unlucky colors for your awareness.

The Top Three Lucky Colors in China

(I) Red — Happiness, Success and Good Fortune

Red represents fire and is the most popular color in China. It is also the national color representing happiness, beauty, vitality, good luck, success and good fortune. 

lucky colors in Chinese culture Red envelopes (and unusual yellow envelopes) for lucky money

Red is famously popular in relation to anything Chinese and is widely used during festivals and important events like weddings.

Red lanterns adorn businesses and residences. Double rows of red "Xi" (happiness) letters are pasted on gates and doors. People wear red during weddings, festivals and other celebratory events. Red envelopes are stuffed with money and given as gifts during Chinese New Year.

(II) Yellow — Royalty and Power of the Throne

Yellow — corresponding to earth — symbolizes royalty and is reserved for the emperor. 

The first Emperor of China was known as the Yellow Emperor. China was often referred to as 'Yellow Earth', and its mother river is the Yellow River. This is the most important color from an ancient perspective.

Chinese emperor clad in royal yellow robesChinese emperor clad in royal yellow robes

During the Song Dynasty (960-1279), yellow glazed tiles were used to build imperial palaces. During Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1636-1911) Dynasties, emperors were dressed in yellow imperial robes. They rode in "yellow palace" carriages and traveled on "yellow paths". Official flags were yellow. 

Official seals were packaged in yellow fabric. Overlooking the Forbidden City from Beijing Jing Mountain, one can see a sea of yellow glazed tile roofs. Gilded copper urns and animals adorn many palaces.

In Chinese Buddhism, yellow is associated with freedom from material needs and monks wear yellow robes.

(III) Green — Money and wealth

Green is the color of wealth, fertility, regeneration, hope, harmony and growth. Green also represents pure and clean. 

Buildings, banks and restaurants are often painted in green. Packaging for milk or produce is often in green to indicate that the product is contamination free.

Other Colors of Significance

In Chinese Five Elements Theory, a traditional philosophy about natural interactions used in fengshui etc., red represents 'fire', yellow 'earth', white 'metal', black 'water', and green (or blue) 'wood'.

Blue

Chinese Five Elements Theory Colors in Chinese Five Elements Theory

Blue is usually seen in combination with green or black. Blue can represent wood and symbolizes spring and brings a positive meaning. 

Blue stands for healing, trust and long life. Shades of green/blue are used to decorate homes for longevity and harmony.

Black

Black corresponds to water and is considered to be a neutral color in Chinese culture and is the color of heaven, symbolizing the northern and western sky. This color represents immortality, knowledge, stability and power. 

Because of this, government cars are all black. The police uniform is also black to project authority and control.

Gold

Gold is a color of richness and nobility — similar to how its perceived in the West. 

Combinations of gold and red are seen on special occasions and is a winning color combination for packaging consumer goods.

Unlucky Colors

Successful real estate company Lianjia is branded in green and yellow.Mixing colors in China, i.e. combining a main color with bits of another positive-meaning color, is common and can have varied interpretations and meanings.

White

This is the color representing metal and is associated with death and mourning. The Chinese wear white at funerals.

Lucky or Neutral Colors with negative meanings

Green can be considered to be unlucky as it is associated with infidelity. A man wearing a green hat is said to have an unfaithful wife.

Black can be considered unlucky too given it's association to the darkness and secrecy. The word 'mafia' translates to 'black society' in Chinese.

Know Your Lucky Chinese Zodiac Colors

As per Chinese astrology, everyone has a zodiac sign and associated lucky colors. 

To find out more about the colors that are lucky for you and your overall luck in 2017, check out our information on the  Chinese Zodiac.

Discover More About Lucky Colors in China

We hope you enjoyed learning about colors and their significance in China. If you'd like to know more, China and our experts are waiting for you. 

We at China Highlights continue to help our clients create a China trip that is tailored to your liking! Even better, you can check out our unique tool and create your own trip.