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The Father-in-Law is also called “泰山”

editor  15-04-17 17:27

Language:中文 pin yin English

In Chinese, the father of one’s wife is also called “泰山”. Isn’t it weird that “泰山” (Mount Tai) refers to a famous mountain in China? What’s its relation to the father-in-law figure? Here is an interesting story.  
In ancient China, emperors conducted a solemn ceremony to worship both heaven and earth called “封禅”(to offer sacrifices to heaven). Because people of the time thought “泰山” (Mount Tai) was the highest among mountains, it was seen as auspicious to make heavenly offerings from its heights. However, because of its distance from the capital, few rulers ventured there apart from Li Longji, emperor of the Tang dynasty.  
In the year 727, Li Longji traveled to Mount Tai and appointed prime minister Zhang Shuo to take charge. The ruler was accompanied by his son-in-law Zheng Yi. According to tradition, following the ceremony, all accompanying officials with ranks lower than that of the prime minister would be promoted. Zheng Yi was originally ranked at Level Nine, though Zhang Shou secretly promoted him to Level Four. Concerned, Li Longji questioned Zheng, who could not reply. Huang Fanchuo, standing next to him, said, “It was the power of Mount Tai!” Later, people used “泰山” (Mount Tai) to refer to father-in-laws. In the beginning, the term was meant to draw support of one’s in-law. This implication has become less obvious with time. Now, when people use “泰山”, it is to express an attitude of respect. 


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Edit on15-04-17 17:29