Chinese Symbols for the Seasons
(and How to Input Them)

I remember when Chinese symbols (and the tools used to paint them) became popular as art in Calgary. Box frames would be filled with an ink stick, brushes and a brush stand all against the back drop of a fake leaf. Another popular item was a painting with the Chinese symbols for the four seasons against the back drop of a quartered square.

The Chinese Symbol for Spring

Of these my favorite is the character for Spring, which, perhaps ironically, I had the most difficulty learning to paint or even write with a pen. The top element was quite a challenge to paint effectively, even if messing around with stroke order. (That's something I do if I have trouble learning to paint a character so that it looks reasonably right, I play with the stroke order. Sometimes it makes a difference to the end appearence of the character. Then once I have it with the modified stroke order I often find that I can then paint it relatively well using the standard stroke order.)

The Easy Lookup Chinese to English Dictionary makes Traditional Chinese Character lookup faster and easier. Neil Keleher.

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Includes Simplified and Traditional Character Indexes.

Painting aside how do you input the Chinese symbol for spring even if you don't know it's pronounciation (which, incidentally is Chun1)?

Breaking the character into a top and bottom part the top part is perhaps the most challenging.

The top two horizontal strokes plus the top half of the leftward sweeping downward stroke can be represented by the 扌element (hand) which in turn is entered with the letter q.

The bottom part of the top element is a 大 element (big) which is entered with a letter k. So the top part has the input code qk.

The bottom part is simple. It's the element for sun, 日 which is entered with the letter a.

The whole input code for the symbol for spring is:


The Chinese Symbol for Fall or Autumn

Perhaps a close second in favorite symbols for the seasons (in part perhaps because it is one of my favorite seasons) is the Chinese symbol for fall or autumn .

The pronouncation for this symbol is qiu1.

The left side of this symbol 禾 has a 丿 stroke at the top which is represented by the letter h (which normally represents the element for bamboo 竹, the first stroke of which is the 丿 element.) The part below that is represented by the letter d for wood 木. The symbol 禾 means grain.

The part on the right 火 is the element for fire represented by the letter f (which should be easy to remember: f for fire 火).

The character as a whole can have connotations of burning fields after the harvest and is input with the following:


An older version of this symbol has the symbol for grain on the left but on the right the symbol for turtle above the symbol for fire. The connotation here is that the turtle shell was used for fortune telling, perhaps for the year ahead or perhaps to see how much preparation was required for the winter that was coming.

The Chinese Symbol for Winter

Spreaking of Winter the symbol for winter is and is pronounced dong1.

The top part of this symbol 夂can be broken into two parts. The first part is the 丿 stroke represented by the letter h and the second part is the 又 element represented by the letter e (which normally represents the symbol for water, 水 which is the bottom part of the symbol for Eternal 永 and so I associate the e with eternal which has water at the bottom).

The code for the top part of Winter is thus he.

For the bottom part, the two dots ?are input using the letter y. And so the input code for Winter is:


Two Possible Chinese Symbols for Summer

There are two symbols for summer and .

The first symbol can be broken down as follows.

The bottom part we've already seen as the top part of winter: 夂 and has the code he. The part above it starts with a horizontal line with a dangly bit ? followed by the symbol for eye 目 which has the code bu where b represents the symbol for moon 月 and u the symbol for mountain 山 or this shape 凵.

Because of a two stroke limit for the cangjie code for the first part of any character only the first and last elements are used and so mbu for the top part is reduced to mu. Thus the code for this symbol for summer is:


For the other symbol 暑 the top and bottom parts are both sun elements 日 which are represented by the letter a.

The part below the top sun 者 can be broken down into a 十 element which is entered with the letter j and a ? element entered by the letter k followed by the bottom 日 element which is a.

The whole code for this symbol for summer is: