Magpie Symbol Meaning in Chinese Culture

In Chinese culture, magpie is a symbol of happiness. The singing of a magpie foretells good luck and happiness. That’s why Chinese people call it ‘Happy Magpie’. The Manchu minority in Northern China even regards this birds as sacred animals. The magpie in Chinese is called ‘xi que’ and the character ‘xi’ means happiness. Two magpies facing each other is used to symbolize double happiness.

Legends concerning magpies are also found in historical records about Manchu. One day, when the goddess from heaven named Fokulon was playing with her two sisters beside the lake, a beautiful magpie flew above them with a red fruit in its mouth. The bird dropped the fruit and Fokulon picked it up and ate it. A few months later, she gave birth to a boy (Bukulirongshun) and he was the forefather of Manchu minority.

The descendants of Bukulirongshun and he himself were all courageous and skilled fighters. They were considered by the neighboring tribes as a potential threat. They decided to form an alliance and wipe out the rising tribe. One lucky boy named Fancha escaped the slaughter and kept running until dusk fell. This little boy was almost caught when a magpie lighted on his head. Luckily, the hunters did mistake him for a tree trunk when Fancha stood motionless in the dim field and the hunters ran on in another direction. The boy was saved by the magpie and he was the only survivor of the tribe in the genocide.

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