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Chinlingo Chinese character: 拜


China has been known as a nation of courtesy and propriety. It attaches much importance to ceremony at every festival. 


The character "拜" (bài) consists of the ideographic radical "", which indicates the origin. "拜", meaning "worship", refers to a salute to show greeting and respect by raising one's both hands over head when he or she meets someone. The salute given at an ordinary meeting is called "拜见" (bài jiàn), which is often used when a young man visits an elder or a junior visits a superior. If this salute is given in the Spring Festival holiday, it's called "拜年" (bài nián), which means "pay a visit to relatives or friends and wish them a happy new year". 

汉字"拜"(bài)以"手"为部首表义,道出了它的由来。"拜"(bài)即是指会面时,双手举过头顶,以示问候、表示尊敬的一种礼节。如果在平时见面时行这个礼,就是"拜见(bài jiàn)",这个词语常用于晚辈对长辈,下级对上级的拜访。如果在过年时行此礼,就是 "拜年(bài nián)",这个词语指的是过年时到访亲戚朋友的家,祝贺他们新年快乐。

Of course, besides a salute, gifts are necessary for "拜见" or "拜年" to further show your regards. Thus, the right part of "拜" consists of four horizontal strokes and one vertical stroke crossing the four horizontal ones, as if four gifts are bundled by a string. 


The structure of "拜" is clear: the ideographic radical "手" on the left indicates its original meaning "make obeisance", while the four horizontal strokes and the vertical stroke on the right can be imagined as a bundle of gifts. Remember that you should pay attention to writing its left part "手", which should be "丿" instead of "亅".


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