Visit any Chinese community around the world and you will soon notice the abundance of the color red in the designs, decorations, ornaments, clothing, lanterns, architecture, etc. Long before there was “Red China” in the sense of communist China, red was the dominant color in China for any celebration, festive occasion, wedding, birthdays and traditional holidays, congratulations, etc.
Among the five elements red symbolizes fire, expressed in energy, summer, sun, heat and south. Those are important things for an agrarian society. Other qualities associated with red are good luck, celebration, happiness, joy, vitality, long life, recognition, propriety, creativity and joy.
If you are invited to a wedding or birthday or Chinese New Year celebration, red is aways a good choice. If you bring a present wrap it in red.
The color that is most often combined with red is gold, the symbol of wealth and prosperity. The red/gold combo is especially popular at Chinese New Year, together the two colors embody everything one could wish and hope for the coming year.
Carved gourds with red tassels
A paper cut with an intricate Chinese character for good luck and prosperity
Festive red lanterns create a bright and cheery atmosphere
A store that specializes in New Year’s decorations
Calamondin mini oranges decorated with red and gold ribbons
A calligrapher writes New Year’s couplets on red paper