The Chinese love fú (no, not that foo’). Of all the characters you see in China, fú (福) has got to be the most common. It’s everywhere, especially at Spring Festival. It can be understood as good fortune/luck/auspiciousness/blessing and is used in everything from the Chinese word for “happiness” (幸福) to “the Gospel” (福音) to “Blessed are the poor…” in Luke 6 (“…有福了。”).
Here’s a cheesy, hauntingly Dr. Suess-esque e-mail we got at work today (in Chinese) that expresses nicely how it feels to be literally surrounded by fús everywhere you go:
Tiger comes, fú comes,* every household fú,
Tiger brings blessings filled up with fú.
Tiger year enjoy fú different kinds of fú:
Big fú, small fú, everywhere fú,
Gold fú, silver fú, fully-stored-up fú!
Welcome fú, greet fú every year fú,
Guard fú, implore fú, every age fú!
Wish you tiger year even more… happiness.
I thought that last line is kind of a downer. You really though it was going to end with “fú”, didn’t you? It does in Chinese, but as part of the word for “happiness” (幸福).
We just got some of our our Spring Festival fú today when my parents arrived from Canada to see
ustheir granddaughter (it’s their first time in China!), so the blog may be a little slow the next two weeks.
*(This older style grammar actually means ‘has arrived’ but doesn’t literally have past tense, sort of like “The Lord is come”… so I’m told.)
P.S. – For some reason it’s not letting me include the Chinese text… I’m using WordPress. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know! If I include the text, it removes all text (English and Chinese) from the post preview. Help!
Other stuff about celebrating Chinese New Year’s:
- ‘Tis the season for… RED PANTIES!
- Pun-based Chinese New Year customs
- Spending Chinese New Year with a Chinese family
- The Nian monster is coming! Better get some red underwear!
- Sharing Chinese New Year’s with the neighbours
- Happy New Year! Congratulations for not being eaten!
- Chinese New Year: a Passover?
- Happy New Year! (Taibei 2006)