By: Shankar Chawla
People around the globe associate Chinese culture with a vast array of iconic symbols surrounding luck. Common images of luck in China range from trinkets, such as ornamental coins and charms, to creatures, like the Chinese dragon, to the twelve zodiac animals. Incredibly, these unique, lucky emblems all share a significant similarity: the presence of the color red. Red’s hue has existed as a crucial element of Chinese culture for millennia. Indeed, nearly every celebration and custom that calls China its origin-place incorporates red, and Chinese tradition attaches a wide variety of perks to the color’s presence. In addition to the understanding that red hues repel evil and signify extreme luck or good fortune, many believe that red attracts happiness, prosperity, and success. With these benefits attributed to the color, it proves no big surprise that one observes an abundance of bright red tones within traditional Chinese events. One of the most well-known displays of the color red in China occurs during the Chinese Lunar New Year: the envelopes of money exchanged, food eaten, clothes worn, banners hung, and lanterns lit all glow with red tones, ushering luck into the new year. Ultimately, sentiments about luck pervade Chinese culture and manifest in the symbolic treasures the Chinese people hold dear. Yet, the color red has intermingled itself so closely with luck and with Chinese culture itself that it remains a staple across all of China and is, by far, the most fundamental trademark of the nation.