Learn Chinese Colors

Posted by Mollan Mo on 20/12/2015 6:27 PM 1010

7 color flower

The human life and color are closely related. There is a large number of words about colors in Chinese mandarin. Each country has their own culture on different colors, and china is of no exception. To learn the Chinese colors is not only to remember the basic color words, but also to know more about the color culture in Chinese mandarin. In this way, you can also understand the Chinese people's aesthetics and way of thinking. Here I will introduce the connotation of some common colors.

Colors in Mandarin Chinese

Color Pinyin Hanzi
white bái sè 白色
blue lán sè 蓝色
yellow huáng sè 黄色
green lǜ sè 绿色
red hóng sè 红色
orange jú sèor chéng sè 橘色 or 橙色
brown kāfēi sè 咖啡色
black hēi sè 黑色
purple zǐ sè 紫色
grey huī sè 灰色

# 红色 (hónɡsè) red

When mention to China, to the colors, the word come to your mind immediately should be "red", "hóng sè ". Red Chinese knot, red couplets, red clothes, red flag, red lanterns, red wedding scene...... red is China's favorite color. The red represents good luck, happy, warm, passionate, motivated, warning.

1. 开门红(kāi mén hónɡ), which means a good start, most be used at when people start a business. "kāi mén" means open the door. In China, the opening ceremony is very important, people will choose some red decoration. Chinese people think that red can bring us good luck. There are some other words have the same meaning such as 生意红火(shēngyi hónɡ huo), it means "business is booming".

开门红

2. 朱(Zhū) nobile color, red. Ancient Chinese palace use red as the main color, Imperial Palace called 朱雀(zhūquè), noble, powerful people called 朱门(zhūmén). Ancient uniform for the government also many mainly in red.

3. Chinese traditional wedding is also mainly in red, the bride and groom need to wear red clothes, all the decorations are mainly in red, not only to auspicious festive atmosphere, but also represents the people hope that the new couple's life can be happy.

红色: warning, danger

气象台发布了暴雨红色预警

The observatory issued a red alert that the rainstorm red warning signal.

Red also means famous, like 走红(zǒuhóng) become famous, 很红(hěn hóng) extremely famous.

# 白色 (báisè) white

Chinese traditional wedding is a red one, the funeral is mainly white, which is not the same as the West. White is exhausted without blood, without the performance of life, symbol of death, bad omen. Like the word "hónɡ bái xǐshì "(红白喜事),"bái sè kǒnɡbù"(白色恐怖).

When white comes to be connected to white clouds, snow white, the color of jade, it has the significance of pure, elegant, bright . This is quite similar to the western culture. In Chinese white culture, the meaning is starting to change in Chinese culture about White.

# 黄色 (huánɡsè) yellow

黄袍

That yellow, Chinese easily think of the yellow robe was a symbol of imperial power. in Chinese traditional culture, yellow symbolizes the sacred, noble and powerful. Yellow is always respected by emperors and the Yellow Emperor so it's called monopoly color. The palace, temple are mainly with yellow and red colors. This is somehow from the ancient worship of the land: land is yellow color, the Chinese nation is originated from the yellow land. And the sun with the color of the yellow symbolizes the gold on the earth , the joy of harvest, the source of life. It often causes people's imagination of uncertainty, hope, joy, gold, precious, rich harvest.

* 黄袍(huánɡ páo): the Imperial robe.

But now "huánɡ" 黄 also means obscene, vulgar. This cultural meaning is influenced by western culture.

* 黄色书刊(huánɡ sè shū kān): indecent books

扫黄(sǎo huánɡ): Clean up pornographic books and periodicals, yellow video products, and song and dance entertainment, and service industries that harm to people's physical and mental health, pollute the social and cultural environment.

* 黄了(huánɡ le ) mess up

Zhè Jiàn Shì Huánɡ Le

这件事黄了(This thing is messed up)

This is only one small part of the Chinese colors, with the changes of the times and the exchange and fusion of Chinese and Western cultures, the cultural connotation of Chinese color words have been enriched, which may contain contradictory and opposite content because of their understanding and color source.

About The Author

Mollan Mo

Mollan holds a bachelor’s degree in teaching Chinese as a foreign language. Experienced and skilled, she utilizes a variety of activities and methods to keep her classes lively. She loves her job and her passion to share her language and culture with others drives her to help her students succeed. Learn Chinese online with Mollan Mo >>

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