Meaning of the magpie symbol in Chinese culture

Meaning of the magpie symbol in Chinese culture

In Chinese culture, the magpie is a symbol of happiness. The singing of the magpie portends good luck and happiness. That’s why the Chinese call it “The Lucky Magpie”. The Manchu minority in northern China even consider these birds sacred animals. Magpie in Chinese is called “xi que” and the symbol “xi” means happiness. Two magpies facing each other are used to symbolize double happiness.

Magpie legends are also found in Manchu historical records. One day, when the goddess of the sky named Fauculon was playing with her two sisters by the lake, a beautiful magpie flew over them with a red fruit in its mouth. The bird dropped the fruit and Fauculon picked it up and ate it. A few months later, she gave birth to a boy (Bukulirongshun) and he was the forefather of the Manchu minority.

Bukulirongshun’s descendants and himself were brave and skilled fighters. They were considered by the neighboring tribes as a potential threat. They decided to form an alliance and destroy the rising tribe. A lucky boy named Fancha escaped the carnage and kept running until dusk fell. This little boy was almost caught when a magpie lit up on his head. Fortunately, the hunters mistook it for a tree trunk as Fancha stood motionless in the dusky field and the hunters ran in another direction. The boy is saved by the magpie and is the sole survivor of the tribe in the genocide.

The little boy was so grateful to the bird that brought him luck and happiness. And because of this, the Manchus began to consider the bird a symbol of luck and happiness. A Manchu man became emperor of China in 1644 and established the Qing dynasty (1644 – 1911).

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