Chinese Good Luck Symbols

child luck

A Few Chinese Good Luck Symbols

By Chitraparna Sinha

In China, there are many numbers, symbols, flowers, and dragons that mean good luck to them.  They are a country steeped in good luck that spans many centuries. 

Flying cranes

Demoiselle Cranes in Mongolia. Central Asian populations of this species migrate to Northern India in the winter

Good luck symbols appear on many things in China.  They appear on everything from tombstones to handkerchiefs.  Many of the auspicious symbols are homonyms of Chinese characters, which are associated with good luck.  The Chinese like to buy good luck charms with an image of a Bodhisattva and a picture of Mao on the other side.

These well-known symbols of good luck and prosperity also have other means of symbolism.

  • Jade — Protection, strength, and health
  • Eggs — Fertility, good luck in Hong Kong, tranquility
  • A bearded sage — Success on exams, longevity
  • A lady bearing fruit — Prosperity
  • A gourd with spreading tendrils — Fertility
  • Plump, lively boys — many sons, happiness
  • Bamboo, pine trees, and plums — “three friends of winter”

There are many animal and fruit symbols in China that mean good luck, in addition to other meanings.

  • Cranes — Peace, longevity, healing, hope
  • Carps — Admired for their strength and determination to swim upstream.  The parents want their children to exhibit these traits.
  • Lions — Fortune and Prosperity

One of the best signs of good luck is the red bat.  Red is a good luck color in China and a bat is a fortunate symbol.  In Chinese, bat is a homonym with the Chinese word for “good luck.”   In China, the three most important colors that mean good luck are red, green, and gold. 

Red is the color that is most prominent in Chinese weddings.  In addition to it being good luck, it also signifies happiness, luck, prosperity, and health.  Chinese have traditionally given out “lucky money” in red envelopes.  It is good luck to have the walls painted red but bad luck to write in red.

Dragons not only bring good luck and control natural forces that produce good crops but also symbolize strength, vigor, excellence, goodness, and breakthroughs.  The Chinese believe that dragons, in the hierarchy of living things, are just below human beings.  They believe that dinosaurs are proof that dragons did exist.

Believing that dinosaur bones were really dragon bones, the Chinese pulverized the bones and consumed them to make them stronger, bring good luck, and used as a traditional Chinese medicine for stomach ailments. 

The Chinese were finding a high number of “dragon bones” on Lurking Dragon Hill.  They did not realize that they were really fossils because they looked just like a small dragon and dragons are good luck.  These fossils found belonged to a 12 to 14 inch marine animal that looked like miniature Loch ness monster.

These are just some of the many items that the Chinese considered good luck.  Some of these good luck symbols could also symbolize bad luck.  It depended on the way the Chinese used the symbols.  Many of these good luck symbols go back in history to the ancient times.

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A Question about Bats

Paul asks…

What is the significance of bats in Chinese culture or folklore?

I recently went to a chinese home decor store and found these beautiful wood carvings with bats in it. At first it kind of creeped me out because bats remind me of horror movies and the occult. But the carvings were beautifully done and I wanted to purchase them, but i was reluctant because I’m not sure what they signify in Chinese folklore. I know that cranes symbolize longevity, fish prosperity and abundance, elephants wisdom. They’re not in the carvings just randomly. I know they mean something and I won’t hang them in my home until I find out exactly what they mean and how they signify their meaning. In feng shui, I know such symbolisms in the home will bring good fortune and sometimes bad luck.

Suzi Q answers:

In Chinese culture, bat could bring you good luck or bad luck! For example, uses of a “bat pattern” in a casino will bring good luck to the owner and bad luck to the gamblers:
The entrance porch of many famous casinos are designed like an opened wings bat. In Fengshui, this is called “Money hanging on the bat and mouse”. It is believed that this design pattern will reduced the winning chances of the gamblers. Image:
In ancient China, the bat is a symbol of propitious and pleasant. It is believed money and prosperity will increased if a bat copper statue is placed at a wealthy position in the house. Image:
In Chinese, the “bat” pronunciation is same as “luck” character. Therefore in the Chinese culture, the bat is symbolized happiness, good fortune and harmony. Bat is frequently appears in many Chinese tradition design, such as “Five Bat Holding the Longevity”. Images:

John asks…

what does this chinese coin mean?

i found this coin in my art was taped to the back of my work…and i asked if anyone had out it there…my teacher said that it was nt her and that no one else uses her room apart from our class… so i took it home and researched it…it turned out to be a chinese lucky coin…with four symbols on one side and some drawings on the back.

the night i found it i decided to take down a dream catcher i had in my bedroom…as a i hadn’t seemed to have a dream since i put it up…so that night i had a dream…its unclear..but in the dream i woke up and my family were cleaning my room while i was in bed! and i seem to be having dreams now that ive taken the dream catcher away.

back to the coin.. so id love it if someone could tell me maybe what it says and also what it means..maybe what the pictures are and how the coin might be linked with the dream catcher.

and like 3 secs after i finished the last paragraph i noticed that one of my chinese dolls is holding a coin too!

Pics :

will post later when photo bucket decides to work :@ links will be in comments

Luvli Mystii answers:

You could check this link as it has depictions of very many Chinese, Japanese, and Annamese coins and charms.

Charles asks…

Can you decipher this fortune cookie?

I got a fortune cookie that read “You are the crispy noodle in the vegetarian salad of life.”
So to find out what It meant I Google searched it and found out that other people have gotten it but nobody i found has deciphered it. So, can anybody here decipher it or do you know a website that works for that specific fortune cookie.

So, once again . . .
“You are the crispy noodle in the vegetarian salad of life.”

If it helps that’s all that the front said and the back said . . .
(A random Chinese symbol)(dòu) (A random Chinese symbol)(yá)
Lucky Numbers 42, 16, 56, 28, 21, 49

Luvli Mystii answers:

The phrase itself is just like saying “You are the fruit loop of the box of cheerios.” or “You are the diamond in the word of ore.”

Laura asks…

how do i know if my good luck coin is really a good luck coin?

it says “Da Qing Zao Bi Chang” around the edge and on the front there’s a dragon and “YUN-NAN PROVINCE ONE TAEL”. On the back is just a bunch of Chinese symbols. Do any of you know what that means or if it really is a lucky charm?

Luvli Mystii answers:

Are you lucky? If you are then uh yup!

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