Different Colours and Their Symbolism in Chinese Culture


The Chinese culture is known for its rich heritage and traditions that symbolise the thousands of years of history. Symbolism, therefore, goes a long way with Chinese traditions, whether it is rituals, ceremonies or various elements of any Chinese event. In fact, colours also play a huge role in the Chinese culture with most of these having some symbolic meaning, particularly for the five elements of nature. Here are some colours and their symbolism in Chinese culture.

Perhaps the most commonly used colour in the Chinese culture, Red is symbolic of the element of fire. Red is a vibrant colour, which symbolises the summer season as well and therefore is a colour of celebration, vitality and fertility. It is also the colour used in traditional bridal dresses because the colour is believed to bring good luck, joy and happiness, as well as ward off evil spirits. Decorating your house with red is also believed to keep evil away.

When you learn Chinese, you will understand how white is often associated with the element of metal from the Five Elements Theory. Similar to other parts of the world, the Chinese culture also uses white to represent purity, tranquillity and innocence. However, it is also true that the on some occasions white is also associated with death, and in some areas white is widely worn on funerals. This colour has become a popular choice for electronics, home décor and cars in recent years.

Green is a colour that comes in many different shades and variations, is still most commonly used to symbolise life, nature and regrowth all around the world. You will find green is often used to describe something as pure and clean and natural. Primarily, it is used to represent the environment and good health and symbolises nature.

Often paired with bold colours like red or even green, the colour gold is very commonly used in embellishments of homes, market places, celebrations and festivals. Chinese culture is full of stories of wealth and prosperity, making this gold a symbol of wealth and riches of the ancestors. The use of gold is also believed to attract prosperity, and is this commonly used in restaurants, shops and hotels.

Purple is a colour often associated with royalty and extravagance. However, in Chinese traditions, this is a colour very commonly used in folklore and stories to represent various emotions. Purple frequently is used for representing immortality and divinity. It is also used to symbolise true love, which is considered immortal by the Chinese.

Symbolism underlies the Chinese culture and is an inherent part of the lifestyle of Chinese, whereby they incorporate not just the colours but also their symbolic meaning in their daily lives. If you are lucky enough, your chinese language course in singapore will delve into the symbolism and history of each colour.

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