Christmas in Taiwan, and I imagine most of Asia, is a strange affair. Even though the majority of people don’t celebrate the holiday in any shape or form, the shops still try their best to take advantage of it by running Christmas themed sales and selling Christmas-related goods, including Christmas cards, which is what we’ll be looking at today. There’s some Taiwanese on these cards so I’ll do my best to explain it.
The first card sheds some light on how Santa manages to get around the earth so quickly on Christmas eve – he’s actually Superman!
The card reads:
zhùfú nǐ měi yī tiān chōngmǎn huānlè xìngfú
Wishing your every day is full of joy and happiness
Here’s some of the keywords:
Taiwanese features in the next card, which for some reason shows Father Christmas and Rudolph using magnifying glasses.
Don’t look at the actual Chinese characters for this one, as this is Taiwanese it’s the pronunciation that’s important. The pronunciation xiāmi is the Taiwanese for 「什么」, or “what”.
又過了一年（又过了一年 yòuguòle yī nián）
There goes another year
又, which means ‘again’ is a useful character to learn, and this example is simple enough. 過了 means to have gone, and with 一年 being “a year” the sentence literally reads “again gone another year”, or “there goes another year”. You can also use 又 in the Chinese equivalent phrase of ‘here we go again’, 「又來了」.
別假裝不熟（别假装不熟 Bié jiǎzhuāng bù shóu）
Don’t pretend you don’t recognise (us)
Here 別 means ‘don’t’, 假裝 means ‘pretend’, and then on of the meanings of 熟 is ‘to be familiar with’. The literal translation would be ‘Don’t pretend you’re not familiar’. The Pinyin here is also the Taiwanese pronunciation of 熟, which is shóu and not shú.
好歹寄張卡片來吧（好歹寄张卡片来吧 hǎodǎi jì zhāng kǎpiàn lái ba）
In any case, send a card
好歹 is a word that I hadn’t come across before reading this card, and means something similar to the English “no matter”, or “in any case”. 寄 means to ‘send’, then 張 is the measure word for cards 卡片.
聖誕快樂（圣诞快乐 Shèngdàn kuàilè）
The classic Christmas greeting in Chinese. 聖誕 is short for 聖誕節（圣诞节 shèngdàn jié）”Christmas”.
該跟逗陣的交流一下（该跟逗阵的交流一下 gāi gēn dòu zhèn de jiāoliú yīxià）
Spend some time with your loved one
This sentence also contains some Taiwanese （逗陣） that’s a bit difficult to explain. The sentence without this phrase reads 該跟…交流一下 “you should with … interact with”, so we can see the missing word is a person that is described as 逗陣的. In Taiwanese 逗陣 means ‘together’, so here 逗陣的 sort of means ‘the person you’re together with’, in other words you’re loved one i.e girlfriend or boyfriend. There’s some more interesting info about this Taiwanese word here.
The last card is a take on a Taiwanese Chinese-medicine brand （強力鐵牛運功散）and mimics the box design:
This is the brand name for the product.
耶誕運功散（耶诞运功散 yé dàn yùn gōng sàn）
Christmas Luck Achievement Powder
I’ve literally translated this part since there’s a number of ways 運功散 could be translated. The original product name is 鐵牛運功散（铁牛运功散）, the iron ox 鐵牛 part has been replaced with 聖誕 on the card.
怯傷。解鬱（怯伤。解郁 qiè shāng, jiě yù）
Heals wounds, relieves depresssion
Here’s another part where you don’t want to look too much at the Chinese characters. Looking at the meaning of 怯傷 in Mandarin you might think it doesn;t make any sense, this is because it’s actually the Taiwanese for 去傷, something like “rids you of injury”, and sounds like “ki xiong”.
快樂製藥廠（快乐制药厂 kuàilè zhìyào chǎng）
The happy medicine factory
The last part is pretty self explanatory. We already know 快樂 means happy, then 製 means ‘manufacturer’, 藥 ‘medicine’ and 廠 ‘factory’, or better translated as ‘pharmaceutical company’, but I like ‘happy medicine factory’ better 🙂
Here’s the ad on Youtube for the original product: