The Meanings of Colors in Chinese Culture

Red – is related to positive energy. It symbolizes fortune, joy and luck.  Red is the color in celebrations, for example, the Chinese New Year and marriage ceremony. It’s tradition to give red envelope on New Year’s day. The red envelope is called: hóng bāo 红包。 In marriage, costumes for both grooms and brides are predominantly red.


White – is the color of mourning and is related to death. Instead of black, white  is the main color used in funerals in Chinese culture. People wear white hat, clothes and shoes.


Yellow – is the royal color in ancient China. It’s  often used to decorate royal palaces, altars and temples, and the color is also used in the robes and clothes of the emperors.


Green – can be associated with nature, but also can be related to greed. Additionally, a green hat (lǜ mào zǐ 绿帽子) is associated with infidelity. So be careful not to give somebody a green hat as gift!

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