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Chinese Character for parental love = ache and rattan

Chinese has different characters for LOVE.  “Téng” is usually use to describe parental love means “ache” or “love dearly”. Its homophone means “RATTAN”.  Homophone is like “bat” for the animal and “bat” for baseball.

Chinese parents usually say,” Wo hen teng ni” which means I really love you dearly. The fact that the meaning says “love dearly” and ache can also means that parents LOVES their children so dearly that it hurts

teng_with numbers

What is interesting to me is the homophone for this character is “téng” for rattan! Hmmm no wonder Chinese parents often beat their kids with rattan! 🙂 I remember when I was little my maternal grandmother chased me and my cousins around her house with this rattan tool.  The tool was used to beat mattresses because she used to hang mattresses out in the sun to kill the germs 🙂

rattan

tepokan kasur

Since that was “teng” is the Chinese character for LOVE… Do we have different character to express children’s love to parents??

Sure we do…. but we don’t call it love! In Chinese children’s love to parents can be expressed in what is called “filial piety”. Children have the responsibilities to RESPECT their parents, care for them, make them proud and  carry the family honor!

Remember MULAN??  She didn’t say she went to war for her father because she loves her father… It’s to defend the family honor and of course SHE LOVES her father. That was how she expressed her love!

The character for is “xiào”.  It consists of 2 different characters.  Lao is for “old” or elderly and zi for son.  See the character is showing that the “son” is carrying the “old”

xiao_with numbers

So what about “Ai” the famous Chinese word for LOVE??  Well, that word is actually for romantic love. The first part is GRIP… to me that shows how 2 people hold hands as they walk into their marriage. GRIP to me means seriously holding on into something, taking marriage vows seriously as they walk together entering the “ROOF” representing the home…Inside or under the roof is the character for HEART! The center of it all is the LOVE from your HEART… and the foundation of it all is FRIENDSHIP! Isn’t it beautiful?

Ai with numbers

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY everyone!

Flo