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Santa Claus and its Chinese Counterpart (Advanced)

Dec. 17, 2010

Santa Claus and its Chinese Counterpart

Key Learning Points (Preview):

平安 (píng'ān) n. safety / peace


顾名思义 (gùmíngsīyì) as the name implies


On Christmas Day, it's Santa Claus who brings us gifts and happiness. But during the Chinese New Year, who is going to bring "平安 (ping'ān) peace" and blessing to us mortals? The "门神 (Ménshén) Door Gods." Chinese people know and worship the Door Gods in a way similar to westerners with Santa Claus.

Door Gods, "顾名思义 (gùmíngsīyì) as the name implies," are the gods who "守卫 (shǒuwèi) secure" the front door of people's homes. Throughout the Chinese history, many immortals in legends and valiant generals were believed to be the Door Gods. However, it is "不再 (búzài) no longer" important who the Door Gods are. The Door Gods stand guard in front of people's doors. They have come to symbolize people's hope for a quiet and secure life.


Shānhǎijīng zhōng de Shēn Shū hé Yù Lǜ
《山海经》  中     的     神     荼  和  郁 垒
Shen Shu and Yu Lv in the Shan Hai Classic    


Mínjiān chuánshuō zhōng de Zhōng Kuí
  民间          传说        中    的     钟    馗
Zhong Kui in a folk legend


Shǒuwèi Táng Tàizōng gōngmén de liǎngwèi měngjiàng – 
    守卫       唐     太宗      宫门      的      两位       猛将-
Qín Qióng, Yùchí Gōng
  秦    琼,     尉迟  恭
The two valiant generals who stood guarded for Tang Taizong at the palace gate – Qin Qiong and Yuchi Gong


Key Learning Points:

平安 (píng'ān) n. safety / peace


Peace and safety are long cherished by Chinese people. We often say "平平安安."


Fùmǔ zǒngshì xīwàng érnǚ píngpíng'ān'ān de.
父母    总是      希望    儿女   平平       安安   的。


Parents always hope their children are safe.

顾名思义 (gùmíngsīyì) as the name implies


"顾"means "to look," "名"means "name," "思"means "to think," "义"means "meaning." To see the name of something and think about what it is.


Shèngdànjié, gùmíngsīyì, jiùshì jìniàn shèngrén dànchén de rìzi.
圣诞节,         顾名思义, 就是   纪念    圣人         诞辰     的 日子。


Christmas Day, as the name implies, is the day to commemorate the birth of a saint.

Vocabulary in this Mandarin lesson:

守卫 (shǒuwèi) v. to secure


传说 (chuánshuō) n. legend


不再 (búzài) no longer


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I’m very interested in the Mandarin book mentioned in this lesson, the Shan Hai Classic. What kind of a book is it?

I feel very safe after taking this Mandarin lesson. Gods are all around giving us blessings.

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