Chinasage Diary

Your daily snippet of information about China. Our diary has a daily fact, proverb and a reminder of upcoming festivals and holidays in China.
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Today Sat 16th Dec

Flowers and fruit

Flowers and fruit are used in Chinese art to give a symbolic meaning. Quite often this is the obvious one of grace and beauty as with orchids, plums, azaleas and magnolias. In other cases the symbolism comes from words that sound the same in Chinese, so maple means 'appointment'; orange 'good wishes'; cinnamon 'valuable' and jujube 'early'. Some have a sexual connotation so have to be used with care if used as a gift.
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On this day

755 An Lushan Rebellion began 755 (1,262 years ago)

Proverb

,活愚蠢
Shēng huó yǒu ài xìngfú, wèi ài shēng huó yú chǔn [sheng huo you ai xingfu, wei ai sheng huo yu chun]
produce live have love good fortune, pride love produce live foolish
A life of love is happy; a life for love is foolish.
Love is not the most important thing

Current weather

clearBeijing weather
Clear
23 ° F / -5 ° C
Dec 15th 2017 at 7:00pm UCT
Wunderground data source

Festivals

22nd Dec Winter Solstice (Lichun calendar)
25th Dec 圣诞老人 Christmas day
1st Jan 元旦 New Years day
5th Jan Moderate cold (Lichun calendar)
See full calendar


Fri 15th Dec

Shanghai

Shanghai City was known as the 'Paris of the East' in the 1920s. By Chinese standards Shanghai is a very modern city. It was just a small fishing port in the 1840s with population of only 50,000; by 2007 this had risen to an incredible 18.6 million making it the largest city in China. It is considered China's second city.
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On this day

1931 Lin Sen became President Republic of China 1931 (86 years ago)

Proverb

Yè cháng mèng duō [ye chang meng duo]
night long dream many
The longer the night, the more dreams there will be
When in hard times it is foolish to merely dream of better things
If wishes were horses, beggars would ride
Thu 14th Dec

Gunpowder

The Chinese invention of Gunpowder took a long time before it came to be used in offensive weaponry. It was first used in alchemy and as a drug. It was when the Song dynasty was faced by the military threat of the Qidan and then Mongol people that guns, rockets and incendiary bombs started to be used.
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On this day

1857 Second Opium War 1857 (160 years ago)
2013 Moon Landing 2013 (4 years ago)
2013 Landing on the Moon 2013 (4 years ago)

Proverb

Gāo wū jiàn líng [gao wu jian ling]
high house make water tank
Pouring water from the roof of a tall building
Being in a good position to repel attackers. Building a commanding position.
Wed 13th Dec

Common language

Because written Chinese characters are not phonetic it is possible to pronounce the same character in many different ways. This is how the different Chinese languages have developed. Even though Mandarin is the pre-eminent one, Cantonese, Wu and others are spoken by many millions, and yet the remarkable thing is that they can intercommunicate by just writing down what they say - because the written form is the same.
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Proverb

旁观
Xiù shǒu páng guān [xiu shou pang guan]
sleeve hand side observe
To look on with folded arms
To look on without offering any help or showing concern
Tue 12th Dec

The Braggart

When Marco Polo came back from China in 1292 he dictated his recollections of 17 years in China while in prison. The descriptions of all the rich, lavish and huge things he said he saw in China led to him being given him the nickname of 'il Milione' or 'the Braggart'.
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On this day

1936 Xi'an Incident 1936 (81 years ago)

Proverb

Zǒu mǎ kàn huā [zou ma kan hua]
walk horse look flower
Looking at the flowers while riding a horse
To take a cursory look at something. Smug
Mon 11th Dec

Du Fu

The famous Tang dynasty poet Du Fu's (杜甫 712 - 770) thatched cottage can still be seen at Chengdu the capital city of Sichuan province.
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Proverb

Yuán mù qiú [yuan mu qiu yu]
cause tree seek fish
To catch fish on a tree. To look at a tree hoping it will catch fish.
Waste time doing something pointless and bound to fail
Sun 10th Dec

Macau

Macau has overtaken Las Vegas as the top city for gambling in the world. It has the largest casino anywhere. Rich Chinese visitors come to the semi-autonomous district for short breaks in the casinos and to the horse races.
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On this day

220 Han dynasty ended 220 (1,797 years ago)

Proverb

识泰
Yǒu yǎn bù shí tài shān [you yan bu shi tai shan]
have eye not know great mountain
To fail to see the great Taishan mountain
To be too arrogant/ignorant to notice true talent
taijiquan, Hong Kong
Tai chi show in Kowloon Park, Hong Kong
Image by Jakub Halun available under a Creative Commons license
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