Widespread methods for attracting and increasing good luck exist around the world. In China, practices that often originated in old traditions still find their way into modern life. Beliefs about good luck in China come from passed down customs or superstitions, and range from everything from auspicious colors to fateful numbers.

Lucky Color

Red is associated with luck on many occasions.
Red is associated with luck on many occasions.

Red is considered lucky in many aspects of Chinese culture, and this belief is reflected by the color’s inclusion in several customs. Red is often used for traditional weddings to symbolize the happiness and joyous times to come for the bride and groom. During Chinese New Year, some families hang red and gold banners called “hui chun.” These decorations are meant to keep good luck within the household, and show messages pertaining to good fortune.

Numerology

Many numbers mean good fortune in China.
Many numbers mean good fortune in China.

Numbers play a prominent role in Chinese beliefs about luck. Even numbers and pairs are often considered lucky, and are associated with positive energy or "qi." Exceptions occur when the word for a number sounds like something else. For instance, the word for four sounds like the word for death and is therefore avoided, whereas the word for the number three sounds a lot like the word for life and so is considered good. Nine is considered among the luckiest of numbers, signifying happiness and long life.

Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo is a decoration associated with good luck.
Lucky bamboo is a decoration associated with good luck.

Lucky bamboo is a plant that symbolizes good luck, and enhances positive feng shui attributes within a household. Feng shui is a traditional Chinese practice that involves structuring space to achieve harmony with nature and positive energy flow. Lucky bamboo is also used in combination with other luck charms during Chinese New Year to intensify wealth and strong beginnings. Surprisingly, the plant is not a true bamboo species and is native to Cameroon in West Africa. True bamboo is revered in China for its rapid growth and strength, which make it a natural symbol for good luck.

Good luck and Buddhism

Buddhist principles do not advocate good luck.
Buddhist principles do not advocate good luck.

Buddhism is a religion that has played a role in influencing many of the good luck traditions of China. However, the teachings of the Buddha do not prescribe to the idea of good luck. According to BuddhaNet, for Buddhists the key to good fortune is realizing that “it is honesty, kindness, understanding, patience, forgiveness, generosity, loyalty and other good qualities that truly protect you and give you true prosperity.” Charms said to be blessed by monks may still be considered a source of good luck in China, despite the philosophy that they do not necessarily impact one's fortunes.