China has a great tradition of respecting nature. This love for nature is signified by various symbols and the values that are attached to them. The Chinese see these symbols as visual representations of their sacred feelings. In fact, of all the countries in the world, China probably has the most faith in its symbols, associating a number of them with wealth and prosperity, abundance, peace, and harmony. One such symbol of reverence is the fish, especially the carp. On the first day of Chinese class, we learned about the fish and its significance to the Chinese. The fish represents wealth and prosperity because the actual word in Chinese for fish sounds the same as the word for “abundance”. As with most Chinese symbols, the carp has a legend attached to it. In class, we read a book on the famous Chinese legend, 鲤鱼跳龙门. According to legend, the carp is noted for its strength and bravery because it swims against the current and tries to leap over a dragon gate. The carp doesn’t give up even when everyone else has. When the brave harp finally makes a final leap over the dragon gate it transforms into the revered Celestial Dragon. The dragon, of course, is another major symbol of good luck to the Chinese.
We learned about the evolution of the fish 魚 character from oracle bone to present day character. Children worked diligently practicing writing the strokes of the Chinese character fish. Students also used their creativity to paint a fish on a fish shaped plate. Look at some of the finished works below!