6 Chinese Symbols for Love You Need to Know

In Chinese culture, love takes many forms, from words and actions to numbers. These expressions of affection have deep roots in China’s history and traditions. It shows the diverse and evolving nature of love over time.

In this exploration of Chinese love symbols, we’ll discover what these symbols mean. Let’s take a look at how Chinese think and express love.

Love Words in Chinese 

Love – 爱 (Ài)

The Chinese character 爱 represents love. It is pronounced as Ài (similar to ‘eye’). Simplified from the traditional 愛 (ài),  it is used in various expressions. This character can stand alone or be combined with other characters to express deeper feelings.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

  1. 我爱你 (wǒ ài nǐ)
    I love you. 
  2. 恋爱 (liàn ài)
    Fall in love. 
  3. 自爱 (zì ài)
  4. 仁爱 (rén ài)
  5. 关爱 (guān ài)

You’ll often encounter the character 爱 woven into the design of traditional items. For example, red packets, furniture like bed heads, and even fixtures like curtains. 

This love symbol is perfect for gifting to anyone, from your spouse and parents to dear friends. It’s a symbol that spreads warmth in every corner of life.

Double Happiness – 囍 (xǐ)

囍 (xǐ, pronounced similar to ‘sea’) featured prominently in Chinese weddings. It symbolizes the happiness and love between a couple. 囍 brings the meaning of double happiness. 

Let’s guess how to express just ‘happiness.’ 

The answer is 喜(xǐ). This character is literally pronounced the same as 囍. It conveys the idea of happiness on its own. Apparently, it’s a simple yet powerful symbol of joy in Chinese culture.

When you double the character 喜, you’re doubling the happiness. Two 喜 written together symbolize the engagement of pairs.

囍 represents the day when both men and women in a marriage welcome their joyous journey. Chinese often use the color red to write this character, bringing more good fortune and joy. 

Secret Password

Love numeric passwords are words or phrases related to love using the homophony of numbers. They are a symbol for people to express their love better. 

These are some pairs of numbers commonly used as Chinese love symbols: 

  1. 520 (wǔ èr líng)
    Equals to 我爱你 (wǒ ài nǐ) = I love you. 
  2. 5201314 (wǔ èr líng yī sān yī sì)

Equals to 我爱你一生一世 (Wǒ ài nǐ yī shēng yī shì) = I love you forever. 

  1. 0451 (líng sì wǔ yī)
    Equals to 你是唯一 (nǐ shì wéi yī) = You are the only one. 

These numeric expressions add a playful and heartfelt touch to expressing love in Chinese culture. Let’s take an example of 520.

520 is homophonic to “I love you” and is very popular on the Internet. It is a way for lovers to express their love. At the same time, 520 also represents May 20. On this day, many people will confess their love to the person they love. 

Therefore, May 20th has become an online Valentine’s Day. Many couples will set their wedding date on this meaningful day.

Moreover, some people will choose to make a promise/confess at 13:14 on May 20th (5201314).  It represents the eternal commitment towards each other.

Mandarin Duck 

Mandarin duck is called 鸳鸯 (yuān yāng) in Chinese. Mandarin ducks are the most famous ornamental birds in China and are regarded as a symbol of love. They come in pairs and will not be separated easily. 

The male duck has bright feathers, with brown-yellow decorative sail-like feathers on its wings, while the female duck is relatively dull and elegant. The ancients named the male bird after 鸳 “yuān” and the female bird after 鸯 “yāng.” 

The mandarin duck symbolizes the beautiful love between husband and wife. 鸳鸯戏水 (yuān yāng xì shuǐ, which means mandarin ducks playing in water) has become a common artistic expression technique among the people. It can be seen on wedding items, New Year pictures, and window decorations. 

In ancient times, it was always used in the decoration and use of wedding rooms, such as lamps, candles, quilts, shoes, and so on. It is used to express good wishes, hoping that couples can be inseparable, loyal, and get old together like mandarin ducks. 

So romantic, isn’t it? 

The Phoenix

The phoenix is a special bird that’s believed to bring happiness and good luck to people, including love happiness. 

People in ancient times used the phoenix to celebrate happy marriages and to show how well husbands and wives get along. When they get married, they might light special phoenix and dragon candles or use phoenix-shaped decorations.

In Chinese literature, the phoenix is like a way to talk about “true love” or “真挚的爱情 (zhēn zhì de ài qíng).” It’s a beautiful symbol that reminds us of the love and happiness in our lives.

Love Pea

Love pea is called 相思豆 (xiāng sī dòu) in Mandarin. It’s like a tiny red bean that looks like a heart.

So, here’s the story: A long, long time ago, there was a woman who loved her husband very much. But one day, he had to go away to war, and she was really sad. She used to cry under a big tree on a mountain.

Guess what? Her tears made the tree’s berries turn all red and heart-shaped! This is the love pea’s origins, a heartwarming legend. 

Nowadays, people make these love peas into beautiful jewelry, like necklaces and bracelets. They give them as gifts to show someone they miss them and love them a lot. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, these Chinese love symbols showcase the boundless creativity and depth of affection found in Chinese culture. Whether through characters, numbers, or nature, love knows no boundaries and can be expressed in countless creative ways. 

Let’s continue to spread love (爱) around us! 


We hope that this article has enriched your understanding of the Chinese symbols for love. Be sure to stay connected with Maayot for more captivating Chinese lessons!