Chinese Symbols

Fish

Chinese Fish Decoration

At Chinese New Year, these Chinese fish decorations are everywhere. The reason for this is that the Chinese word for 'fish' sounds exactly the same as the Chinese word for 'abundance' which means having more than you need of something. By hanging up fish decorations Chinese people are hoping that in the New Year they will have wealth and prosperity.

Chinese Symbols including Tangerines, Plum Blossom, Yuanbao and Firecrackers
Chinese symbols including Tangerines, Plum Blossom, Yuanbao and Firecrackers

Tangerines and Oranges

Both of these fruits are important Chinese New Year symbols that represent abundant happiness. The reason for this is that the Chinese word for tangerine sounds like the word for 'luck' and the Chinese word for orange sounds like the Chinese word for 'wealth'. So at Chinese New Year these fruits are laid out in the home to bring good luck and good fortune in the coming year. When visiting other people it is usual to take a gift of a bag of oranges and tangerines.

Plum and Peach Blossom

At Chinese New Year people decorate their homes with fruit blossoms to symbolise the start of a cycle which will result in a plentiful crop of fruit later in the year. Peach blossoms symbolise long life, romance and prosperity so are favoured by single people looking for love in the coming year. Plum blossoms symbolise being a reliable person who will keep trying even though things may get difficult.

Yuanbao also known as Sycee

A yuanbao is a silver or gold boat shaped ingot with a little bump in the middle. These used to be the first type of money in ancient China. Today at the New Year, Chinese people display imitation gold ingots to attract wealth into their home or office.

Firecrackers

Firecracker hangings are hung outside homes to scare off evil spirits and misfortune on New Years Eve. They are symbolic of the noisy firecrackers which frightened away the legendary monster Nian. Check out our instructions and template showing how to make your own firecracker decorations.

Chinese Red Lanterns

Chinese Red Lantern

A red lantern is not only a symbol of luck and prosperity but people hang them as a means of 'lighting the way' for the family's Kitchen God on an important annual mission to see the Jade Emperor. People want the Kitchen God to give a good report of the family to the Jade Emperor so that they have a good harvest and make more money in the forthcoming year. Lanterns also help the Kitchen God find the door of their house on the way back.

Find out about Family Celebrations