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:
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.