Hi everyone! I'm sure many of you have heard about how burning incense can bring positive energy into your home and promote relaxation, but what about the specifics? How many incense should you burn at once in order to get the best results? That's the question I'm here to tackle today! So, let's dig in and discover what the number of incense sticks burned — one to three or more, or more — means and why it matters. So jump right in!

1. The meaning of the number of incense sticks burned

As a proponent of incense burning, I believe that the number of sticks burned does mean something. A single stick can bring a sense of peace and calm to a room, while multiple sticks can produce a more powerful effect. Each time an additional stick is added to the ritual, it increases the energy in the room and builds upon the spiritual vibration established by the first stick. The number of sticks burned also has great symbolic meaning, as different cultures consider certain numbers lucky or unlucky. By burning incense, we can create a space that is imbued with our own personal energy and intentions, making it truly unique and special.

1 Incense sticks meaning

According to the theory of Yin and Yang, odd numbers represent the Yang realm, and even numbers represent the Yin realm. Thus, one is the smallest number in the positive realm. Light a stick of incense, symbolizing devotion and an overflowing fortune.

Here, number one is a positive symbol representing someone who sincerely wishes for the gods to bless them with good fortune, peace, and luck. Burning an incense stick to honor the gods in one's home is referred to as "peace incense."

In addition to praying for peace, everything being favorable, the homeowner should light a stick of incense every morning and evening for one day. Furthermore, this act always brings a feeling of comfort and joy. Its scent is just enough, doesn't overwhelm me. It's like a hug from an old friend that I haven't seen in a while, reminding me to slow down and take the time to appreciate the little things that matter most.

Purify your space and mind with just one incense stick.

Purify your space and mind with just one incense stick.

2 Incense sticks meaning

Burning two incense sticks can be seen as an expression of respect and reverence for the deceased. It is believed that by doing so, we are able to send positive energy to the spirit world and show our gratitude for their life. Burning two incense sticks simultaneously also symbolizes a connection between this physical world and the spiritual one and serves as a reminder of mortality.

In Chinese culture, two incense sticks represent balance—one representing yin (earth) and another representing yang (heaven). This balance is extremely important because it helps keep things in proper perspective and reflects the importance of the deceased’s life. This is why burning two incense sticks side by side has a meaningful connotation and is seen as honoring and remembering those who once lived.

Overall, burning two incense sticks for the deceased can be seen as a way of communicating with them through an exchange of positive energy. It helps us remember our own mortality while also showing respect and reverence to those who have passed away

3 Incense sticks meaning

Burning three incense sticks is a popular ritual in many cultures. It is seen as a way to purify the space, create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, and bring good luck and fortune into the life of the practitioner. The smoke from the incense carries with it one’s prayers or desires for a better future.

The significance of burning three incense sticks lies in its symbolism. Three represents balance, harmony, unity, fullness, and completeness. When we burn three incense sticks together simultaneously, we are creating an energy that can be used to manifest our intentions and wishes for our lives. The smoke created by burning these three sticks also helps us connect with our innermost thoughts and feelings while simultaneously creating an atmosphere of peace and calm.

The act of burning three incense sticks also has spiritual implications. For some cultures, the smoke is believed to offer a bridge between our physical realm and higher realms in which the gods or other spirits reside. It can be used as a way to communicate with divinity or give thanks for all that we have been given.

5 Incense sticks meaning

The burning of five incense sticks is an important ritual in various spiritual and religious practices. In Buddhism, it symbolizes the enlightenment experience. It is believed that when all five sticks are burned together with focus and mindfulness, one can become enlightened and reach a higher level of spiritual awareness. This ritual also serves as a reminder to stay mindful in life and to keep striving toward greater understanding and clarity.

By lighting these five incense sticks in honor of the Five Elements, one can bring good luck into their life on Earth. The smoke emitted from each of these incense sticks carries its own meaning and importance. The wood element represents growth and new beginnings; metal symbolizes strength; water stands for purification; fire brings passion and courage; earth instills stability. Altogether, these five elements work together to bring balance and harmony.

To honor the Five Elements, the people are lighting these five incense sticks.

To honor the Five Elements, the people are lighting these five incense sticks.

7 Incense sticks meaning

Folklore has also attributed magical properties to burning 7 incense sticks. In some spiritual and religious contexts, the use of fragrant smoke is thought to attract divine forces into space or ward off evil spirits. Additionally, its aroma may be used to honor deities or other prominent individuals. Various plants and herbs are often used in incense mixtures, as each plant is thought to have its own beneficial properties.

9 Incense sticks meaning

The burning of 9 incense sticks is rare, and usually only on special occasions. In Japan, it is customary to light nine incense sticks during a purification ceremony known as Shou Sugi Ban.

In India, lighting 9 incense sticks is seen as a way to show respect for deities and ancestors. Some believe that this practice helps create positive energy within your home and space that will protect you from any negative influences.

In Chinese culture, this is considered a signal to ask for help, mainly in cases of reluctance, and almost no human help should be employed.

2. Number of incense sticks to burn for some special occasions

2.1. How many incense sticks to burn for good luck?

According to the rules of feng shui, odd numbers such as 1, 3, and 5 carry many lucky meanings because they are positive numbers that bring good luck, while even numbers are negative numbers that bring bad luck. Therefore, to pray for good luck, people often burn one or three incense sticks at a time; these are all positive numbers that symbolize people sincerely praying and asking the gods to bless them with peace and luck.

Usually, people burn incense in the morning to pray for good luck and favorable conditions for that day. Nag Champa, sandalwood, rosemary, palo santo, and lavender are popular scents commonly used for this purpose.

Check out our article, "Introduction to Incenses to Use to Bring Good Luck and Abundance" for more information.

2.2. How many incense sticks to burn for god or ancestors?

In rituals with gods or ancestors, people often use one incense stick. An incense stick represents one's devotion to their superiors. Furthermore, it brings a lot of spiritual meaning and helps to create the right atmosphere without overwhelming the scent. People often use Nag Champa incense, sandalwood incense, cinnamon incense, and frankincense for this purpose.

Read the article on how to pray with incense for more details.

2.3. How many incense sticks to burn for dead?

As previously stated, two incense sticks will be lit for the newly deceased. However, after three days have passed since their passing, people will light either one or three incense sticks.

2.4. How many incense sticks to burn a day?

According to experts, people who do not have respiratory diseases should only use 1 to 3 incense sticks per day. This ensures both the health and spiritual life of each person.

Read the article about the most appropriate times to burn incense during the day to learn more information.

2.5. How many incense sticks to burn for the new year?

Normally, when doing the New Year's ceremony, you should light three incense sticks. However, on this occasion, if you want to maintain the altar, just one incense stick in the room is enough. This will help you maintain your spiritual activity and avoid any negative effects of incense on your health.

2.6. How many incense sticks to burn for love?

To pray for love, people often burn 1 or 3 incense sticks. Burning 1 stick symbolizes clarity in one's mind about the desired outcome of the ritual with respect to the emotion or state of being associated with love. Three sticks are often burned for two reasons: to represent the three aspects known as body, mind, and spirit; and/or to represent the past and present future.

Some popular types of incense for this purpose include lavender, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose...

Read our introduction to the 11 best incense for love for more details.


In general, when performing traditional incense-burning and worshiping rituals, you should pay attention to choosing an odd number of incense sticks to ensure respect, balance yin and yang, wish for liveliness, and avoid bad luck. Please respect and follow these rules in order to preserve traditional cultural values. Thus, the article has answered the meaning of lighting 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9 incense sticks and helps you understand the number of incense sticks needed. Please leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!

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