Because the lotus can blossom and bear fruit simultaneously, it is fitting that one word for 'lotus’, lián (蓮), is pronounced the same as the words 'to repeat' and 'continuous' (連). Lotus seeds, lián zǐ (蓮子), express a potent message for the 'continual birth of children’ (連生貴子), because zǐ (子) means both 'seed' and 'child'. Two lotus flowers blooming from the same base or stem symbolize harmony between a husband and wife. Coupled with various other images, the lotus can represent the wish for the continuity of luck, wealth, promotion, or children. The lotus root, consisting of long strands that refuse to break, is a metaphor for 'continuity’. Another word for ‘lotus’, hé huā (荷花), makes a play on the words 'harmony' and `togetherness,’ both pronounced the same, hé (合). A picture of two lotus flowers therefore represents 'harmony and love’. The Buddha is often seen seated on a lotus flower, which is also a sacred emblem of Buddhism, symbolizing purity. Lotus flowers of all colors were said to have grown in the birthplace of Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism.


Vivien Sung, Five-Fold Happiness: Chinese Concepts of Luck, Prosperity, Longevity, Happiness and Wealth, pp. 194-195, Chronicle Books, 2002