蟾宮折桂

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See also: 蟾宫折桂

Chinese[edit]

Toad Palace; the Moon
 
tenth (in price); to break; to fold; to turn; broken (as of rope, stick)
Cinnamonum cassia; Guangxi Autonomous Region (abbrev.)
trad. (蟾宮折桂) 蟾宮
simp. (蟾宫折桂) 蟾宫
Literally: “to break off osmanthus [blossoms] in the Toad Palace”.

Etymology[edit]

From 蟾宮蟾宫 (chángōng, “Toad Palace; the Moon”) + (zhé, “break off”) + (guì, “osmanthus”) The phrase alludes to several Chinese legends: one that credited the phases of the moon to a great osmanthus tree ( (guì)) growing and shedding its leaves and blossoms each month; another granting the immortal Chang'e an enormous mansion on the moon (月宮月宫 (yuègōng)), whose grounds included the tree; another (older than the Chang'e stories) seeing a pareidolic toad in the shadows of the moon and associating the toad with good luck and wealth (金蟾 (jīnchán)). Branches of sweet-smelling blossoms from the tree were thought to (rarely) fall to Earth and grant good luck to whosoever found them. The association with the tests had to do with the holding of the examinations around the time of the blossoming of the osmanthus and the Mid-Autumn Festival honoring its connections to the moon and Chang'e.

Pronunciation[edit]


Idiom[edit]

蟾宮折桂

  1. (archaic) to pass the keju, the former Chinese imperial examinations

See also[edit]