10 Chinese Good Luck Symbols

pile of chinese money

Michael Coghlan/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Chinese characters usually have one or more meanings and some of them are particularly loved by Chinese people. As you review this Top 10 list of the lucky ones, please note Pinyin is also used here, which is the Chinese spelling system for the characters.

Fu, for example, is the Pinyin for good luck in Chinese. But Fu is only the phonic part of the character and it also represents other Chinese characters that sound the same.

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Fu - Blessing, Good Fortune, Good Luck

If you've ever celebrated Chinese New Year, you likely know that Fu is one of the most popular Chinese characters used during the event. It is often posted upside down on the front door of a house or an apartment. The upside down Fu means good luck came since the character for upside down in Chinese sounds the same as the character for came.

If you or someone you know needs some luck, it's time to welcome Fu into your life.

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Lu - Prosperity

The character Lu used to mean official's salary in feudal China. So how does one get Lu or prosperity? The ancient Chinese art of spacial arrangement, feng shui, is believed to be the way to health, wealth and happiness. If you are interested in feng shui, you may check out the book "The Feng Shui Kit," or the many other books that have been written on the subject. 

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Shou - Longevity

In addition to longevity, Shou also means life, age or birthday. In the tradition of Confucius, the Chinese have long had high regard for the elderly and in the tradition of Daoism, an interest in immortality. According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Shou "can appear in at least 100 variant forms and frequently occurs on hangings, garments and decorative arts that were appropriate for auspicious occasions such as birthday celebrations."

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Xi - Happiness

Double happiness is usually posted everywhere during Chinese weddings and in wedding invitations. The symbol is made up of a pair of Chinese characters used to show happiness and that the bride and groom and their families will now be united.
The characters that mean happiness are spelled xi or "hsi" in Mandarin. Double happiness is pronounced "shuang-xi" and is only used in Mandarin writing in the context of weddings. 

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Cai - Wealth, Money

Chinese often say money can make a ghost turn a millstone. In other words, money really can do a lot of things.

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He - Harmonious

"People harmony" is an important part of Chinese culture. When you have harmonious relations with others, things will be a lot easier for you.

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Ai - Love, Affection

Ai is often used with '"mianzi." Together aimianzi, this character means "be concerned about one's face-saving."

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Mei - Beautiful, Pretty

The United States of America is called Mei Guo in the short form. Guo means country, so Meiguo is a good name.

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Ji - Lucky, Auspicious, Propitious

This character means "hope all is well," which one often says to friends, loved ones, and acquaintances.

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De - Virtue, Moral

De means virtue, moral, heart, mind, and kindness, etc. It is also used in the name for Germany, i.e., De Guo. 

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Custer, Charles. "10 Chinese Good Luck Symbols." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, thoughtco.com/chinese-good-luck-symbols-4072924. Custer, Charles. (2020, August 28). 10 Chinese Good Luck Symbols. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/chinese-good-luck-symbols-4072924 Custer, Charles. "10 Chinese Good Luck Symbols." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/chinese-good-luck-symbols-4072924 (accessed June 8, 2023).