The Deep-Rooted Chinese Symbols for Love & What They Mean

Symbols are special in every culture. They convey powerful messages, tell intriguing stories, and represent a collective identity. The Chinese culture, with its deep roots and richness, is no exception. It boasts many symbols, each with unique meanings and historical significance. These symbols express themselves in art, literature, architecture, and daily conversations.

Among these symbols, the ones signifying love hold a place of special honor. Love is a universal language in all its forms, yet each culture has its unique way of expressing it. In Chinese culture, love is beautifully expressed through various symbols for love, each with a captivating story and deep meaning.

By exploring these symbols, we can better understand the Chinese perspective on love and its cultural significance. Let’s look at some of the most important Chinese symbols for love and their meanings.

Chinese Symbols of Love (In a Nutshell)

If you’re in a bit of a rush or just prefer a quick overview, feel free to look at our handy summary table below. It provides a snapshot of the Chinese symbols for love we’ve discussed and their meanings and significance. You can use it to jump straight to a specific section if something catches your eye.

Chinese Symbols for Love
Meanings and Significance
1.Double HappinessA powerful symbol in Chinese culture, Double Happiness represents marital bliss and conjugal joy. It is often used in wedding decorations and gifts.
2.Mandarin DuckThe Mandarin Duck, often seen in pairs, symbolizes fidelity, affection, and lasting romantic love in Chinese culture. It’s especially popular in art and home decor.
3.LovebirdsTraditionally a symbol of romantic love and companionship, Lovebirds in Chinese culture are considered auspicious for couples and are believed to reinforce the bond between lovers.
4.RoseThe rose is a universal symbol of love, but in Chinese symbolism, it also represents prosperity and the blossoming of love. It’s a popular choice for expressing deep romantic sentiments.
5.MagpieThe Magpie is an interesting symbol of love in Chinese culture. It is a bird of joy, symbolizing love, marital happiness, and good fortune.
6.Chinese Love KnotDeeply embedded in Chinese culture, the Love Knot represents an unending cycle of love. It signifies good luck and harmony, making it a popular choice for wedding decorations.
7.HeartThe Heart symbol, universally acknowledged, holds a similar significance in Chinese culture. It’s a simple yet powerful expression of love and affection.

Remember, this is just a brief rundown. Each symbol has a deeper story to tell, which we explore further in the respective sections of the blog.

1. Double Happiness 

chennise Double Happiness symbols for love

The Double Happiness symbol, known as “Shuang Xi” in Chinese, is a prominent emblem in Chinese culture. This emblem, consisting of two identical Chinese characters for ‘happiness’ placed side by side, is typically seen during festive occasions and, most prominently, at weddings.

Tracing the Origin of the Double Happiness Symbol

The Double Happiness symbol dates back to the Tang Dynasty. According to popular folklore, a student traveled to sit for the imperial exams. He fell ill and was cared for by a herbalist’s daughter. They fell in love, but the student had to proceed to the capital for his exams. After passing the exam with flying colors, the student was to marry the Emperor’s daughter. He penned a symbol of happiness for the occasion. The Emperor was so impressed with the symbol that he allowed the student to marry his true love, the herbalist’s daughter, instead. The symbol was doubled to represent their joy and happiness on their wedding day, which is why it is called Double Happiness.

Significance of Double Happiness in Marital Bliss and Love

In modern times, the Double Happiness symbol represents marital bliss and mutual love between the couple. It’s often used in decorations and wedding gifts, signifying a wish for the newlyweds to share a love-filled life filled with joy. Moreover, it’s not just a symbol of marital happiness. Still, it’s also seen as a symbol of doubling the effect of joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction in one’s life, making it a universally appreciated symbol.

2. Mandarin Duck

2. Mandarin Duck symbols for love

The Mandarin Duck, often seen in pairs, is a well-recognized emblem in Chinese culture, symbolizing a loving relationship and fidelity.

How Mandarin Ducks Became Symbols of Love

In the wild, Mandarin Ducks are known for their lifelong pairings, often seen side-by-side, hence, their association with lasting love and loyalty. Due to this peculiar behavior, they became a symbol of love in Chinese culture, and their vivid, attractive colors further emphasized their attractiveness as symbols.

The Symbol’s Role in Representing Fidelity and Affection

Today, Mandarin Ducks, often depicted in pairs in artwork or as figurines, are commonly gifted to newlyweds or couples to signify a wish for their love and fidelity to last a lifetime. They are believed to bring happiness and love into the relationship, reflecting the enduring affection and companionship that the ducks symbolize.

3. Lovebirds

lovebirds symbols for love

In Chinese culture, Lovebirds are another symbol closely tied to love and companionship.

Unfolding the Tale of Lovebirds in Chinese Tradition

While not native to China, Lovebirds have earned their place in Chinese symbolism and culture. Known for their strong pair bonds and long shared perching times, they became symbols of mutual love and understanding.

Lovebirds: Symbols of Romantic Love and Companionship

Lovebirds are associated with romantic love and deep companionship in Chinese culture today. Depicted often in artwork, Lovebirds convey the idea of two individuals deeply in love, sharing a bond that is both profound and enduring, a testament to the unwavering nature of true love.

4. The Rose

rose symbols for love

With its universal appeal, the Rose has a special place in Chinese symbolism, representing love and passion.

The Rose’s Journey in Chinese Symbolism

As cultural exchanges increased, the rose, already a well-established symbol of love in the West, began to find its place in Chinese society and hearts. In Chinese literature, especially poetry and romantic tales, the rose often becomes an emblem of the delicate and profound feelings that bind two people together. With its remarkable beauty and intoxicating scent, the flower embodies the very essence of love — deep, captivating, and occasionally accompanied by the thorns of hardship or separation. Therefore, the rose in Chinese symbolism beautifully portrays the multifaceted reality of love: enchanting and invigorating, yet demanding care and respect. Its widespread use in modern celebrations of love, such as Valentine’s Day, further cements its role as a symbolic flower of love in Chinese culture.

Meaning and Interpretation of the Rose Symbol

In Chinese culture, the Rose, particularly red, is a potent symbol of love, representing deep, passionate, and genuine emotions. Giving someone a red rose is seen as a declaration of one’s love, mirroring the Western interpretation. The Rose’s velvety petals represent the softness of love, while its thorns symbolize the pains that often come with deep affection.

5. Magpie

Magpie symbols for love

In Chinese culture, the Magpie is considered a bird of joy and love, often associated with the bliss of marriage.

The Magpie’s Origin as a Symbol of Love

The Magpie’s origin as a symbol of love in China goes back to various ancient myths and folklore. In one popular tale, two lovers, separated by the Milky Way, can meet once a year when a flock of Magpies forms a bridge across the galaxy. This story of enduring love under challenging circumstances resonated deeply with the Chinese, leading to the Magpie’s association with love, loyalty, and marital happiness.

Magpie: A Sign of Joy, Love, and Marital Happiness

The Magpie’s symbolism has been absorbed into everyday Chinese life and is particularly relevant during weddings. Artwork featuring Magpies is often used as wedding gifts, symbolizing a wish for the couple to share a happy and loving life. The bird’s significance as a love symbol persists today, epitomizing romantic love and the joy and happiness that love can bring.

6. Chinese Love Knot

Chinese Love Knot symbols for love

The Love Knot is a striking emblem of eternal love and fidelity in Chinese culture.

The Ancient Roots of the Chinese Love Knot

The Chinese Love Knot, also known as the “endless knot,” has ancient roots in Chinese culture. This design, which consists of loops made from a single piece of cord or ribbon twisted into a pattern, is thought to originate from the Tang Dynasty. Over time, its intricate design symbolized the complex and interconnected nature of love and life.

Understanding the Love Knot’s Significance of Endless Love

Today, the Chinese Love Knot is often given as a gift to couples, signifying endless love and commitment. It embodies the belief in a love that is constant and everlasting. The unbroken loop represents the idea of no beginning or end, reflecting true love’s timeless and enduring nature.

7. Heart Symbol

heart symbols for love

The Heart Symbol, while universal, holds a special place in Chinese expressions of love.

The Origin and Influence of the Heart Symbol in China

The Heart Symbol’s origin in China, much like the Rose, might have been influenced by Western cultures. Despite this, the symbol has been thoroughly integrated into Chinese society and is used extensively to express affection and love.

The Heart Symbol: A Universal Expression of Love

The Heart Symbol in China holds the same connotations as it does globally. It is synonymous with love, affection, and emotional connections. This simple yet powerful symbol is used in art, literature, and everyday life, serving as a clear and universally understood symbol of love and compassion. It reaffirms that despite cultural differences, the emotion of love is a universal human experience.


Exploring these love symbols from Chinese culture reveals a rich tapestry of shared values, mythologies, and philosophies. Each symbol, from the Double Happiness symbol to the Heart symbol, carries a unique interpretation of love, reflecting the deep-seated beliefs and customs of the Chinese people.

Chinese culture offers a unique perspective on love, with its symbols serving as vessels of ancient wisdom and deeply-held beliefs about relationships, fidelity, and the enduring power of love. Examining these symbols gives us a deeper appreciation of how different cultures interpret and express this universal emotion.

These symbols provide a fascinating insight into how Chinese culture perceives and communicates the complexities of love. In understanding them, we can embrace a broader definition of love that transcends cultural boundaries and resonates with us on a human level. Even in a rapidly changing world, these enduring symbols of love remain relevant, reminding us of the timeless nature of our shared human experiences.

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