Mandarin House’s Top Five Halloween Words


A decade ago, few people in China would have known what 万圣节, wànshèngjié (literally “All Saints Day”) meant. However, the popularity of Halloween is continuing to increase helped by the army of expats bringing over Halloween traditions and the Chinese factories that make the costumes worn by the party goers across the world.

 Halloween Words

Halloween might not be a massive holiday here in China, but for Mandarin students it gives you a good excuse to brush up on your ghost and ghoul, Mandarin vocabulary. Below is our Top 5 List of Mandarin, Halloween words. Get creative and use the words with your teachers and classmates.

1.南瓜, nánguā, pumpkin

Carving pumpkins into scary faces doesn’t really happen in China but pumpkins are incredibly popular here. You can get some fantastic pumpkin based snacks including:

● 南瓜粥 nánguāzhōu, pumpkin congee
● 南瓜子Nánguāzǐ, pumpkin seeds
● 南瓜饼Nánguā bǐng, my personal favorite, pumpkin cake.

2.吸血鬼, xīxuèguǐ, vampire

Vampires have been common in Chinese mythology for hundreds if not thousands of years. Historically a Chinese vampire was a sort of cross between a Western zombie and a Western vampire. More recently however, and starting with Hong Kong cinema more westernized concepts of vampires have taken hold.

3.僵尸, jiāngshī, zombie

Zombies in traditional Chinese literature have more closely resembled the Western vampire, with the ability to suck the life out of the living. With western movies and books, the terms vampire and zombie have begun to reflect more closely the western meanings.

4.鬼, guǐ, Ghost

Ghosts have a long history in China. Confucius famously sayed “respect ghosts and gods but keep away from them.” There are a huge number of different types of ghosts in Chinese culture ranging from “the ghost of a person who has been hanged” (Diào Sǐ Guǐ, 吊死鬼) to the ghost of an old and helpful woman (Guǐ Pó (鬼婆)). The most useful word to learn though is probably the catch all term 鬼, guǐ, which just indicates ghost.

5.狼人lángrén werewolf

Werewolf’s are probably quite a recent addition to Chinese mythology and is likely to have occurred through Western books, movies, etc. The Chinese word here literally means wolf (狼, láng) person (人, rén) so you get three words for the price of one (I love Chinese).
So those are our top 5 words, if you think we’ve missed anything please let us know either on our Facebook page or on our website.

Happy Halloween!


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