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Red in China

 

Don’t write a person’s name in red

 

 

In China, red is a positive colour: it is the colour of fire, of the sun, and associated with weddings, courage, loyalty, good fortune, success, happiness, honour, fertility…

Brides in China traditionally wear red dresses and red paper will be used to wrap money, gifts, and in many celebrations – think of the red wrappers on fireworks and the ubiquitous red lanterns. Even in shops, when an item is wrapped in red it will sell out a lot quicker than the same item wrapped in a different colour.

But do not write a person’s name in red ink! It means that you have cut them out of your life or that they are dead. In ancient times the names of the dead were carved in red on tombstones and plaques. Nowadays, Chinese obituaries are traditionally written in red ink.

 

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