China’s fascination for Bamboo

Chinese culture considers Bamboo lucky because Bamboo is the Chinese symbol of strength.

Bamboo demonstrates strength by growing fast and adapting to new environments. Because of this, many in China see Bamboo as a symbol of luck, which explains why Bamboo is often given as a gift.

Bamboo Flute Music

In fact, Bamboo is the most popular plant in China.  Most Chinese, even in high-rise apartments, have Bamboo plants around in small pots.

Bamboo represents the spirit of summer, simplicity and humility, and respect for elders among other things.

Painting Bamboo goes back centuries. Musical instruments have been made of Bamboo.

China’s first cannons were made of Bamboo.

Painting Chinese Bamboo

My wife has planted Bamboo in the yards of every house we’ve lived in.  When my father-in-law visits from China, he has his picture taken in front of the healthiest, tallest stand of Bamboo in the yard.

In Feng Shui, Bamboo is a symbol of strength, fortitude, and rapid growth. When given as a gift, Lucky Bamboo is said to be at its luckiest.

Chinese tradition also gives meaning to the number of stalks given as a gift. Two stalks is a symbol for love, three or six represent happiness while five or seven impart health.  The more stalks there are, the more luck there will be. (Living Arts Originals)


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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6 Responses to China’s fascination for Bamboo

  1. Painting bamboo gave me a greater appreciation for its beauty. I love the casual elegance of its form.

    I would add one more characteristic quality: flexibility.

  2. Hari Qhuang says:

    Very Interesting!
    I wrote a small post about bamboo and I did not include these many interesting facts! 😀
    I emphasized on the fact that bamboo is one of the four gentleman.
    This is much more interesting! 😀

  3. merlin says:

    I have a question. How do you get or grow bamboo at home? I mean, I’ve read that I can’t bring bamboo from China because the government considers it an invasive species. I’m also curious if there’s any ways to speed up the growing time because I believe if there was then bamboo would be one of the best building materials available.

    • I’d have to ask my wife for the specific name, because there are two types of bamboo that I’m aware of. One that spreads like ivy and one that grows in clumps and does not spread. And you don’t have to import bamboo from China because it’s sold in the United States. The bamboo in the US might not be the same strain that grows in China but I’ve heard my wife say they are the same.

      And my wife bought the bamboo variety that grows in a clump and doesn’t spread like ivy at local nurseries.

      But even the variety that spreads may be contained because the roots do not go deep enough to get under an underground footing built to contain the spread. You should check but I think a two foot deep barrier that the roots can’t penetrate is more than enough to contain the bamboo from spreading like a wildfire.

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