Chinese New Year - Year of the Horse

Chinese New Year - Year of the Horse


The horse is the fastest-moving animal of the twelve members of the Chinese zodiac (although it is true the dragon, having the power of flight, should be able to cover more distance than a horse, the origin of the Chinese dragon most probably lies in folk memories of crocodiles, which don’t match horses for long-distance fleetness).

This association with speed is reflected in the Chinese word for “immediately”, 马上(mashang), which literally means “on horseback”. Horse years therefore abound with speed-related good wishes, such as 马到成功 (Madaochenggong), which literally means “May you enjoy speedy success”.

Another New Year’s wish is 马年马上有福 (manianmashangyoufu), “May you enjoy immediate good fortune in the year of the horse”.

Another Chinese horsey expression that was well-liked by my peers at university in Taiwan was 走马看花 (zoumakanhua) which means “riding a horse and looking at the flowers”, i.e. taking a merely superficial view of things. You, dear reader, having read my very cursory article, may accuse me of looking at flowers on horseback, but at least, in the spirit of the equine year, I didn’t leave it too late!

A Happy Chinese New Year from NZTC.