Friday, December 18, 2009

Ox turns Heaven and Earth 牛转乾坤

As this is the year of Ox, a new expression appeared in the Chinese websites in the beginning of the year:
"Ox turns Heaven and Earth" - "Niu zhuan qian kun" 牛转乾坤.

This sentence is a word play. It comes from the Chinese idiom: "Niu zhuan qian kun" 扭转乾坤, which means "to bring about a radical change in the situation; reverse a bad situation or unfavorable condition to one’s advantage". This phrase is also translated as “to turn the tables”, because it derived from the ancient Chinese games. The player that is in a disadvantaged and weak position, turns the situation around and wins the game.

So, now in Chinese there are many wishes such as: "Wish you good luck and let the ox turn the Heaven and Earth!", "Ox turns the universe", etc. ;-)
This shows the hope of people for better changes and better times. 


  1. Just so you know: the usual character for niu in this expression is niu3 扭, meaning "twist" or "turn" (not 牛, or "ox").
    Jim Hargett

  2. Jim, if you thought you had to correct Annie then you have totally missed the point about the post and more importantly the culture behind this language