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Chinese New Year: Lantern Colors

Make Your Wish Come True by Picking the Right Color


Lanterns show for the Chinese Lantern Festival on February 6 and traditionally marks the end of the Lunar New Year
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Chinese New Year’s celebrations culminate with the Lantern Festival, a glowing spectacle of lanterns, cacophonous firecrackers, and mouthwatering food. Lanterns are hung outside homes and children carry small lanterns during the Lantern Festival.

While modern lanterns come in all shapes and sizes – like paper, bamboo, and metal shaped like spheres, diamonds, animals and cartoon characters – symbolic colors help Chinese New Year revelers’ wishes come true.

Lantern Colors and Their Meanings:

  • Red: Good fortune
  • Pink: Romance
  • Peach-red: Decisions and opportunities
  • Orange: Money
  • Yellow: Success in school and/or job
  • White: Health
  • Light Green: Growth
  • Light Blue: Hoping something comes true
  • Light Purple: Idealism

At lantern festivals, like the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival in Taiwan, lanterns of varying colors and sizes are for sale. Revelers will choose the color that expresses their wishes and then write their corresponding wishes on the lantern. At some lantern festivals, the lanterns are launched like hot air balloons into the night sky.

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