In case you missed it: this holiday season Chinosity celebrated the 12 Days of Chengyu. Every day through our newsletter, Instagram, and Facebook, we learned a new chengyu–a traditional Chinese expression.
If you missed out, don’t fret! Join us now to go over the 12 chengyu we learned this holiday season.
Our amazing illustrations were done by @four_chars, make sure to check them out!
1 Yǎn jiàn wéi shí
Meaning: To believe in what can be seen
Do you believe in Santa? How do you know if Santa is real if you have never met him?
2 Mín yǐ shí wéi tiān
Meaning: People view food as their heaven
This five-character cheng yu is a classical way of saying there is nothing more important than food. All of the food for Christmas? And then Christmas leftovers? Yes please!
3 Huà shé tiān zú
Meaning: To draw legs on a snake (i.e. to overdo something)
This Chinese saying is perfect for artists or chefs. It suggests that in the effort to improve something that is already perfect, we might add something that makes it worse!
4 Qián rén zāi shù, hòu rén chéng liáng
Meaning: The predecessors plant the tree, the descendants cool off in the shade.
Did you know it takes more than 8 years to grow a Christmas tree? It is only thanks to the efforts of workers who planted trees 10 years ago that we get to enjoy Christmas trees during the holidays this year.
Or, we can use this cheng yu to remember that we are able to enjoy the holidays because of all the hard work our parents and families do over the year.
5 Xīn xǐ ruò kuáng
Meaning: Extremely happy and surprised (in a good way!)
The perfect word to describe getting the exact Christmas gift you wanted all along.
6 Sài wēng shī mǎ
Meaning: The old man lost his horse, but it all turned out for the best
A lot of difficult things that happened in 2020 could be blessings in disguise. For example, working and learning from home gave us more quality family time.
7 Rén shān rén hǎi
Meaning: Sea of people
The ball drop in NYC? The sea of people that we usually see in the malls and holiday markets? Maybe not this year due to the pandemic, but we do miss the vibe.
8 Jiā yǒu bì zhǒu, xiǎnɡ zhī qiān jīn
Meaning: Be thankful for a bad broom as if it were a thousand ounces of gold.
This proverb suggests that even if something is of little value, if it’s your property you should cherish it. Be thankful for what you have. Gifts are nice at Christmas, but don't forget to be thankful for what you already have. (Inspired by the viral video of the girl who got a banana as a Christmas present)
9 Láng tūn hǔ yàn
Meaning: To brush away food like a wolf.
At Christmas, we all wolf down our food. Time to reheat the leftovers!
10 Guī xīn sì jiàn
Meaning: With one’s heart set on speeding home or a place we desire to be
While we are all working from home, the comforts of working from your bed are especially irresistible.
11 Xīn xiǎng shì chéng
Meaning: Whatever desire the person has can be fulfilled
For 2020 I had a list of very lofty goals. 2021? I just wanna keep my job...
12 Měi lún měi huàn
Meaning: Magnificent, beautiful, astonishing, gorgeous (of scenery, houses, etc)
Just like the tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City! Bonus: the twin pandas at the Atlanta Zoo are also named 美轮 and 美奂.