What are taboo colors in Chinese culture? Unveiling beliefs and symbolism

In Chinese culture, some colors are considered taboo due to their association with certain beliefs or traditions.
  • Green: Green is believed to be an unlucky and taboo color in Chinese culture. It’s linked to infidelity and is associated with a cheating spouse. The Chinese phrase wearing a green hat refers to a man whose wife has been unfaithful. So, it’s better to avoid giving or wearing green items during any festivities or ceremonies.
  • Black: In contrast to many other cultures where black is symbolic of grief and mourning, black is considered to be lucky in Chinese culture. It is believed to be a protective color from evil spirits, especially during the ghost month, a Chinese festival celebrated in August. Black is also associated with wealth and luxury.
  • White: While white is commonly associated with purity and innocence in many cultures, it represents mourning, death, and funerals in Chinese culture. The Chinese traditionally wear white to funerals and burn white paper money as an offering to their ancestors. Therefore, avoid gifting or wearing white clothes during Chinese New Year or any other celebrations.
  • Yellow: Yellow was once reserved for the emperor and the imperial family. It represented the golden dragon, which was believed to be the ancestor of the emperors. Presently, the color represents freedom, happiness, and glory and is used in various festivities all over China.
  • Red: Red is the most auspicious and popular color in Chinese culture, symbolizing good luck, prosperity, and happiness. Red clothing is worn during weddings, Chinese New Year festivals, and significant events. Red envelopes with money are also given as gifts at weddings, graduations, and during the Chinese New Year.
  • In conclusion, understanding the cultural significance of Chinese colors will help you avoid potential faux-pas and keep in mind the appropriate color choices while being a part of their celebrations and traditions.
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    The Taboo Colors in Chinese Culture: Green and Black

    Chinese culture is steeped in traditions and superstitions that date back centuries. Colors, in particular, hold great significance in Chinese beliefs, with different shades being associated with different meanings. While some colors are considered lucky and auspicious, others are considered taboo and unlucky. In this article, we will explore two of the most taboo colors in Chinese culture – green and black.

    The Unlucky Color: Green in Chinese Culture

    In Chinese culture, green is believed to be an unlucky color. This is in contrast to western cultures where green represents growth, harmony, and nature. In China, green is linked to infidelity and is seen as an ominous color. One of the reasons behind green being considered unlucky is its association with infidelity. In Chinese culture, a man who wears a green hat is believed to be unfaithful to his wife. This stems from a historical tale of a man who wore a green hat as a sign of his wife’s infidelity. The color green, therefore, became symbolic of a husband who is not faithful. Key Point: Green is considered to be an unlucky color in China due to its association with infidelity.

    The Superstitions Surrounding the Green Hat in China

    The superstitions surrounding the green hat are still prevalent in Chinese culture. It is believed that giving a green hat as a gift to someone is a sign of disrespect and contempt. In fact, the phrase wearing a green hat is still commonly used today to refer to the act of being cheated on by one’s spouse.
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    Key Point: The green hat is still seen as a taboo object in Chinese culture, and giving or wearing one is considered bad luck.

    The Surprising Belief in Luck Associated with Black in China

    While black is often associated with mourning in Western cultures, it is considered a lucky color in China. This surprising belief dates back to ancient times when black dye was rare and expensive. Thus, wearing black was a symbol of wealth and status. Key Point: Black is considered a lucky color in China due to its association with wealth and status.

    The Connection between Black and Darkness in Chinese Culture

    Black is also associated with darkness and secrecy in Chinese culture. This has led to the phrase black society being used to refer to the underworld and organized crime. The word mafia actually comes from the Chinese term for black society – Hei Shehui. Key Point: Black is associated with secrecy and the underworld in China, and the term black society is used to refer to organized crime.

    Understanding the Negative Connotation of Black Society in China

    The term black society has a negative connotation in China, and being associated with such groups can lead to social ostracization. In recent years, the Chinese government has cracked down on organized crime and has made efforts to eliminate the influence of black society groups. Key Point: The negative connotation of black society has led to government efforts to eliminate organized crime in China. In conclusion, colors hold significant cultural meaning in Chinese beliefs, with green and black being two of the most notable taboo colors. While green is associated with infidelity and bad luck, black is considered a lucky color due to its association with wealth and status. However, black is also associated with darkness and the underworld, leading to the term black society being used to refer to organized crime. Understanding these cultural beliefs is essential for anyone seeking to understand and respect Chinese customs and traditions.

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