Tag Archives: happy

Symbols {51} ~ Chinese Fu

The Chinese character Fu stands for good luck, good fortune, and blessing. Sometimes it also means happiness. It is most popularly used during the Chinese New Year celebrations, hung upside down on the entrances of many Chinese homes.

Hung this way, the character Fu literally means “good luck arrives” because the words “upside down” and “to arrive” are almost perfectly homophonous or “they sound the same” in nearly all forms of Chinese. Hanging the symbol upside down, therefore, has come to mean the household’s wish for good luck, happiness, and prosperity in the coming New Year.

The character Fu itself is a homophone for “bat”, and good fortune is sometimes represented in Chinese textile or ceramic art as 100 flying bats.

Symbols {24} ~ Happy Buddha

Full of exuberance, Happy Buddha is often mistaken for Siddhārtha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. But the image of Happy Buddha is actually based on a wandering Chinese monk, Budai (Hotei, in Japanese), who lived centuries ago.

Happy Buddha is believed to be Maitreya, or the Buddha to come. His plump figure and benign countenance suggest magnanimity and plenitude. Also called Laughing Buddha, his signature smile is symbolic of pure joy. Happy Buddha is considered a symbol of good luck, and it is thought that rubbing his big head or belly brings fortune and wealth. At the same time, his walking stick and satchel remind us to pay attention to the journey before us, not just the destination.