How to Say The Color RED in Chinese?

Hey my friends, ready for this week’s Chinese lesson? Today’s lesson is about the color RED. Want to know how to pronounce RED in Chinese? Want to know the story behind RED? Want to know what RED means in China? Want to know when you definitely shouldn’t use RED in China?

How to Pronounce RED in Chinese?

“Red” is translated as 红 or 红色 in Chinese. The Chinese character “红” stands for RED and “色” for color. Different from the English saying, we usually say “红色”rather than simply “红”. But “红” and “红色” have the same meaning in Chinese.

 Chinese Character For RED

Chinese Character For RED2

A Myth about RED…

The Chinese Lunar New Year is one of the most traditional festivals in China. Chinese usually stick red Chinese Festival scrolls on the front door and light red fireworks and lanterns to celebrate the big moment once a year. But do you know why Chinese choose the color RED?

Long, long ago, there was a beast named “年,” which means “Year” in English. Every Chinese Spring Festival Eve the beast would always attack the village where our ancestors lived and hurt the human beings and the livestock. In order to avoid the attack from the beast, our ancestors had to escape from the village and hide in the forests on that night.

One afternoon before the Chinese Spring Festival Eve, when our ancestors were about to get out of the village with the old and young in their families, an old man with a long, white mustache walked into the village. The old man told our ancestors there was no need to panic. He said he knew how to deal with the beast named Year. The ancestors didn’t believe him at all and hid in the forest shortly after, leaving the old man in the village alone for the night. The old man chose a house, pasted red paper on the front door, lit a red lantern in the house, and waited for the beast.

The beast came to the village as usual that night. However, it got so intimidated that it ran away immediately after it saw the red paper on the door and the red lantern in the room. From then on, the villagers imitated what the old man did, sticking red paper on the front door, which helped them drive the evil away. The beast has never come back since.

This is the reason why RED is given the connotation of “driving the evil away” and “auspiciousness.”

About The RED Chinese Knot…

Wondering what is in the photo? It’s a red “Chinese Knot.”

Chinese Knot

Chinese Knot

There are many types of Chinese knots. Red Chinese Knot is the most common type of the Chinese Knots.  The “Chinese knot” is a traditional Chinese folk handcraft. Every Chinese knot is made out of ONE thread from the very beginning to the very end.

Also, there are many shapes of Chinese knots. Different shapes stand for different meanings. One can give an elderly person a Chinese knot as a birthday gift meaning best wishes for a long life; one can give a driver a Chinese knot for decoration in his car and to express wishes for a safe trip; One can also give business owners a Chinese knot with an Chinese ancient coin on it, which means “May you have a brisk business!”

These Are Times When RED Is Absolutely Needed In China…

The color RED symbolizes happiness, auspiciousness, bravery and so forth; so Chinese people love RED and have been using RED for different purposes for thousands of years.

√ Wearing RED underwear, panties, belts, and the like during your zodiac year.(CLICK for the explanation of Chinese Zodiac) It is said that bad things usually happen to one in his zodiac year and RED is said to have the meaning of “driving the evils away”, similar to many other cultures. So it is believed that RED can protect one from bad things during his zodiac year.

√ RED is the traditional color for wedding ceremonies. It is very common, especially in ancient times, for newly married couples to use red curtains, red bed sheets, red quilts and nearly everything you can imagine in the color red.

√ In ancient China, the walls of the temples and palaces are red. You may wonder why. RED is also considered to be a color of dignity, and regular people were not even allowed to be near the palaces owned by the people in power. Today you can still see the red walls of the Ti’anmen Tower in Ti’anmen Square.

These Are Times When You Definitely Don’t Want RED In China…

The color RED is deeply loved and cherished by Chinese people, but you never want to use red under these circumstances:

× Writing a person’s name (or signing your own name) in RED means the person is dead.

× Never attend a funeral wearing RED. The color “white” is usually the decorating color of a funeral, and people usually wear “black” when attending a funeral.

× Writing a letter in RED means the end of relationship between the one who writes it and the one who receives it, no matter if it is a love relationship or a friendship.

Xuan in Sunset


   Having fun learning all about RED in China?

   Know more about RED in China or in some other cultures?

   Your comments and ideas are warmly welcomed from the bottom of my heart! 

                                    by Xuan♥.