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Knowing your family tree during Chinese New Year

2 children looking at the Chinese terms for paternal & maternal aunts in a Chinese New Year setting


What do I call you?

过年啦!Amidst the angpow and munchies, have you stumbled over how to address the relatives with the proper Chinese greetings? E.g. is my cousin 堂妹or 表妹?


Check out these family trees to figure out who's who.

Family tree in English & Chinese (before my marriage)
Family tree in English & Chinese (after my marriage)


Want some family tree fun?

Dislike memorising who's who? Try having fun instead. Play Chinese Family Tree games. Get the hang of how to greet family members or relatives in Chinese.



Do you know?

The kids of your father's brothers are your 堂姐、堂妹、堂哥、堂弟.

What about the kids of your father's sisters? 堂姐、堂妹、堂哥、堂弟 too?


Wrong.


Many think that cousins on father's side of the family would all be 堂x.

However, the parents of your cousins make a difference. Only the kids of your father's brothers are your 堂x. The kids of your father's sisters are your 表姐、表妹、表哥、表弟. Yup, similar to your cousins on your mother's side of the family.


Traditionally, Chinese favours sons over daughters. 嫁出去的女儿,泼出去的水. It's the sons that carry & pass on the family's name. Kids of your father's sister don't have the same surname as you so they are your 表x. Only 堂x have the same surnames.

 

So, after knowing more who's who in the family tree, this lunar new year, you can greet your relatives with aplomb😉.

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