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[TEST] What’s The Significance Of Colours In Chinese Culture & Do They Make Sense To M’sian Millennials Today?

The Chinese culture is heavily filled with symbolism and whether you believe it or not, they are definitely interesting to dive into. Some of these symbolisms are also linked with different meanings of colours and how it affects our lives.

But the question is, do these colours still make sense to us now? Let’s first take a look at the beliefs behind these colours:


1. Yellow – a regal colour fit for a King

Notice how in the lion dance, there would often be a mixture of red and yellow lions?

One of the popular colours in this culture is yellow. It is an imperial colour that was worn by Emperors in ancient times, thus symbolising power, royalty and prosperity. It is also commonly associated with good luck, which is why it’s common to see it being paired with the colour red.

Yellow also goes hand in hand with gold, which symbolises riches and wealth. This is also why mandarin oranges are given out during CNY as the name of the fruit “kam” is a homonym for “gold” in Cantonese.

Additionally, yellow and gold are traditionally seen as the most beautiful colours in the culture!


2. Blue – the soothing colour of Spring

The colour blue carries a very positive meaning in the Chinese culture as it symbolises spring, immortality and advancement. This is quite similar to Western culture where blue is commonly perceived as a very soothing and calming colour.


3. Green – mother Earth’s constant companion

The colour green in Chinese culture holds quite a similar meaning as it does in the Western world. In today’s world, we’d automatically link it with the environment, eco-friendliness and growth. Whereas in Chinese culture, green is the symbol cleanliness or the state of being free from any contamination. Shades of green/blue can also represent longevity and harmony which is why, in more traditional Chinese homes, you’ll see these colours painted across their walls.


4. White – a universal symbol of purity 

The colour white was traditionally seen to symbolise purity and brightness, similar to how it is seen across the world. However, in the current modern time, the colour has gained newfound popularity as the most preferred colour for consumer goods. It can be found everywhere from fashion, mobile phones and even cars. It’s quite a versatile colour after all.


5. Red – the colour that paints the town every year during CNY

Probably the most well-known colour in this culture is the colour red which is also a symbol of fire. It is widely favoured as it symbolises luck, happiness and joy, which is why it is very commonly worn in the culture in order to ‘welcome’ luck. It is also traditionally worn by brides as it is taught to ‘ward off evil’.

This originated from the famous legend of Nian, a beast that is half bull with a lion’s head that would terrorise villagers every New Year. But luckily, the villagers managed to defeat it by taking advantage of its three fears: fire, noise and the colour red. Ever since then, the colour red is believed to be a symbol of good luck!

Fun fact: Pink is also thought to be in the same colour family as red in Chinese culture and therefore, holds all the same meaning!


But do these colours & symbolisms still make sense to Malaysian millennials today?

It’s definitely clear that some of these meanings are very widely believed and have been indoctrinated within the society for generations. However, for millennials, it can be said that the younger generations have evolved to become more carefree when it comes to these beliefs.

However, it doesn’t mean that the generation today has abandoned their culture altogether. Millennials do still embrace and abide by their traditions especially during auspicious events. For example, wearing red during Chinese New Year. However, our society has progressed with time to become more accepting of more modern versions of these attires. So, don’t be scared to be more experimental, okay!


Speaking of CNY attires, if you’re on the lookout for the coolest CNY outfits this year, why not check out Timberland’s brand new CNY-themed collection that will compliment any OOTD you’re planning to achieve! Just because we may not be able to have big reunions like we used to doesn’t mean we can’t still dress up! 

Timberland is inviting you to join their #TeamNewYear and celebrate the year of the Ox with this vibrant collection that consists of new boots and clothings that incorporate traditional Lunar-themed motifs!

What we love about this collection is how the traditional motifs blend so well with Timberland’s signature sleek silhouette to create a truly fascinating contrast that embraces modernity while also paying ode to traditional culture.

Notice how there’s a lot of black and red combinations? This is inspired by the traditional art of Chinese calligraphy where black ink would be used against red diamond-shaped pieces of paper aka red couplets which are often used as decor during Chinese New Year!

Psst… also, this way your mom confirm cannot scold you if she thinks you’re not wearing red! 😋

Check out some of our favourite pieces from the collection below!

Apart from the uber-cool designs, these items are also staying true to Timberland’s sustainability journey as it features items like the Madbury boots that are made from at least 50% recycled bottle material or the hoodie that is made from organically grown cotton.

In conjunction with the new launch, Timberland is also having an exclusive AR event in their stores where you can unlock exciting promos and stand a chance to win RM4,500 weekly!

[client to update more info on the event]

Looks like Timberland’s coming through with those generous ang paos! 😍


Don’t forget to stay updated with this event on their Instagram and if you’d like to check out more of Timberland’s special Chinese New Year collection, visit their website here.


Do you believe in the meaning of these colours or nah? Share your thoughts below!

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Pixlr
Source: Packist

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