Monday, October 24, 2011

Better your understanding of 福(f ú) 福字含义浅议

 福(f ú) is a typical auspicious character for Chinese people. It has lots of wonderful meaning. The most important meaning of it is happiness and good luck. 
Chinese calligraphy is a lovely art. We write the same character in different style in different situation or to express different emotion. This is the Standard style (楷书 kǎi shū)of  福:

This is the Running style (行书 xíng shū) of  福:

And this is the Dancing style (草书 cǎo shū) of 福:

In China, during the Chinese New Year, the Spring Festival, you may see the character 福 (f ú) everywhere:. Such as, at the front door of the house:
or at the show window of a department store:
Sometime people even use the 福 in their dress design:

The left radical of 福( fú )  is 示( shì ), which is also used in some other words, like 祭祀(sacrifice), 神明(God or spirit), 祈祷(pray) .  示( shì ) radical usually has some relation to the meaning of sacrifice, God or spirit, pray, hope and wish. 

The oldest style, Oracle style(甲骨文 jiǎ gǔ wěn ), of 福 will show its original meaning.

In the Oracle style, 福  is drawn as a picture, in which some spirits was sprinkled onto the altar from a special goblet. That is a vivid picture of the ancient sacrifice. So the original meaning of 福 is to  pray to heaven. Later on, 福 referred to the spirits and meat that were used for sacrifice.

As time went by, the character 福 had more and more extended meaning. Such as, being protected, or everything going on smoothly, or good luck.

We can see more detail of the meaning of 福 in the Book of History (《尚书》). It includes: longevity, richness, peaceful life, virtue, and a good ending of life.

While in the Book of Characters(《说文解字》), 福 means being protected from any evil.

Nowadays Chinese people think 福 means happiness and good luck. In some people's opinion, on the right side of the character 福, the 一 (yī) radical means house beam, the 口(kǒu) radical means big family, and 田(tián) radical means the field. Since these radicals are all in the character 福, it means to have a big family, your own house and land. That's a really good explanation of 福. :)

No matter how many different explanations about the meaning of 福 are there, one things is sure that the pursuit of happiness is everyone's dream.