What do butterflies mean to you? Freedom? Beauty?
If I say butterflies also mean a tragic love, like Romeo and Juliet, do you think it strange?
I use butterflies a lot in my cards. Sometimes I wonder, ‘What do they mean?’
Here is a Chinese tragic love story, The Butterfly Lovers. The young lovers were Liang Shanbo (梁山伯, man) and Zhu Yingtai (祝英台, woman). Their names are normally shortened for Liang Zhu (梁祝).
Their tragic love is almost like that of Romeo and Juliet.
The basic story line is: Zhu pretended to be a boy and became Liang’s classmate; Liang didn’t know Zhu was a girl. They spent 3 years together as boys. Zhu was engaged to a rich man by her father later. Liang was too late. He died of a broken heart.
On her wedding procession, Zhu paid her final tributes to Liang. The grave suddenly opened up, and she threw herself into the grave to join Liang.
The spirits of Liang and Zhu turned into a pair of beautiful butterflies. They flew away and were never separate again.
BBC retold this magnificent story in many languages. Click the link to watch the animation in English. Liang Zhu: The Butterfly Lovers. It is only 5 minutes’ long. It’s funnily portrayed, yet endearing. (But how could a tragedy become funny? Watch it and you’ll know.) It’s definitely worth your time.
- If you prefer listening to the story of the Butterfly Lovers in Mandarin, here is the BBC Mandarin version.
- Here is the BBC French version
- Here is the BBC Spanish version
The Butterfly Lovers music is also my favourite music, though it evokes deep sadness.
What do you think of this Chinese Butterfly Lovers story?
Do you have similar stories in your cultures?
What do butterflies mean to you?
Please leave a message and share your thoughts.
My Related Posts:
- Friend: the word to honour 2012
- Fascinating Chinese Character of the Year 2012
- The only Chinese word you ever need to learn
- The enchanting Moon Fairy
- What is a Tomb Sweeping Day?
- Why do the Chinese eat Red eggs, not chocolate eggs?
- Chinese version of Eats Shoots and Leaves
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside a gift
- I think it’s time I (and you) learnt some Polish