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Celebrating the ox

牛年说牛:趣谈中国文化中的牛

中文 英文 双语 2021-01-05    来源:21世纪学生英文报·高一     
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导读:2021是农历辛丑年,也是中国传统上的牛年。在中国文化中,牛是任劳任怨、勤恳踏实的象征。牛是家畜中最勤劳的角色,也是文学作品中常描写的形象。牛年说牛,你对牛有哪些了解?

The ox has significance in Chinese culture. TUCHONG

The Year of the Ox is coming. In China, you will find various ox figures made of gold, wood, plastic, paper, shell and stone on sale in stores and on streets to celebrate the return.
牛年要来了。在中国,你会发现商场和大街上都在出售用黄金、木头、塑料、纸、壳、石头制成的各式各样的牛型摆件,以庆祝牛年的到来。

But why was the ox chosen to be one of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs?
但十二生肖中为什么有牛呢?

Centuries ago, most people earned their living through farming. The ox was used to help plow, cultivate and carry heavy goods.
几百年前,大多数人以农业为生。牛常被用来帮助犁地、耕种、驮重物。

The ox has long had a significant place in Chinese culture. Ancient Chinese poets and writers frequently described the ox in literature. In the Classic of Poetry, the oldest existing collection of Chinese poetry, the animal was mentioned in nine out of the 305 pieces.
牛在中国文化中向来占有重要地位。中国古代诗人和作家常在文学作品中描写牛。在我国现存最早的诗歌总集《诗经》的305篇诗歌中,有9篇都提到了牛。

The ox is considered a symbol of diligence and earnestness in Chinese culture. To this day, the phrase “the spirit of ox” still refers to conquering anything that may present itself as an obstacle. The spirit is highly praised and many people follow it as their work ethic. When someone achieves a great accomplishment through hard work, people often use “niu”, meaning “awesome”, to describe him or her.
在中国文化中,牛被视为勤劳诚恳的象征。如今,“牛气冲天”仍喻意能够战胜一切,成为阻碍之事。这一精神也被高度赞扬,很多人将其奉为工作准则。当有人通过辛苦努力获得巨大成就时,人们往往会会说他或她“牛”,意为“很棒”。

Oxen seldom bully the weak or fear the strong. They work hard and make sacrifices.
牛很少欺软怕硬。它们努力工作,牺牲自我。

This is reflected in a couplet from a poem by Lu Xun (1881-1936): “Fierce-browed, I coolly defy a thousand pointing fingers; Head bowed, like a willing ox I serve the children”, which fully expresses the poet’s loyalty to the people.
这点体现在了鲁迅一首诗的对句“横眉冷对千夫指,俯首甘为孺子牛”中,这两句诗充分表达了诗人对人民的忠诚。

So naturally, those who were born in the Year of the Ox are often expected to be hardworking, reliable and loyal. “They never seek to be the center of attention and do not look for praise,” the website China Highlights noted.
因此,在牛年出生的人自然常常被认为是勤劳、可靠、忠诚的人。“他们从不想要成为关注的焦点,也不期许获得赞美,”“中华游”网站上如此写道。

21英语网站版权说明  (Translator & Editor: Wang Yue (Intern) AND Wang Xingwei)


以上文章内容选自《21世纪学生英文报高中版》,详情请见《21世纪学生英文报高中版》高一818期
辞海拾贝
Signs生肖 Classic of Poetry《诗经》
Earnestness认真 Conquering战胜
Work ethic工作准则 Bully欺负
Sacrifices牺牲 Fierce-browed, I coolly defy a thousand pointing fingers; Head bowed, like a willing ox I serve the children横眉冷对千夫指,俯首甘为孺子牛


 


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