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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

From Easter weekend to Tomb Sweeping Festival

Long and nice Easter weekend is now over. If given the chance, I would vote for the more holidays the better!

As a Chinese person, I didn't grow up with celebrating Easter, not mentioning get four days off as public holidays. It was later in my life that I learned why there is a good Friday and then easter Sunday. And I realized the Chinese translation of this holiday is so close to the original event.

In Chinese, Easter is translated into "fu4 huo2 jie2" (the numbers here are symbols for tones). "fu4 huo2" means "bring back to life" or "resurrection", and "jie2" is "festival". In English, "Easter" doesn't convey all these meanings to people like me. I also learned that Easter is also a symbol that spring starts, and that's why it is associated with bunnies and eggs.

This get-clearer-in-translation also happened in translating Chinese customs. There's one coming next week. It is "qing1 ming2", literal meaning "pure brightness". Chinese people consider at the time of "qing1 ming2", chilly weather will be gone for good, in stead, wonderful warm spring weather comes together with blooming flowers, and a little rain sometimes. And also it is time to sweep the tombs of your ancesters. Some people translate it into "Tomb Sweeping", and since it's a public holiday, add a "Festival" at the end. It is therefore very clear on what Chinese people do on 5th of April.

It's good for most people that after a long weekend break, there is one more coming so quickly.