Christmas is a time for sharing, giving and charity. The Chinese word for presents is 礼物 (lǐwù). 物 (wù) are things or substances. 礼 (lǐ) is used in a number of words that cover a range of meanings – ceremonies, rites, courtesy, manners and etiquette, gifts and presents.
典礼 (diǎnlǐ) is a ceremony or a celebration. 礼堂 (lǐtáng) is a place where such rites or ceremonies are carried out, e.g. an assembly hall or an auditorium.
物品 (wùpǐn) are articles or goods. Therefore, items offered at a ceremony, for a celebration, or for courtesy, are called 礼品 (lǐpǐn). 礼品 (lǐpǐn) and 礼物 (lǐwù) both refer to gifts and presents. Customarily, you would use 礼物 (lǐwù) when talking about a gift or a present that you give or receive. You would use the more formal word, 礼品 (lǐpǐn), when referring to the gift items in a general sense.
Wǒ sòng gěi Sūshān yī hé qiǎokèlì táng, zuòwéi shèngdàn lǐwù.
I gave Susan a box of chocolates as Christmas present.
送礼 (sònglǐ) means to present a gift to someone. 回礼 (huílǐ) and 还礼 (huánlǐ) mean to give a gift in return. As 行礼 (xínglǐ) and 敬礼 (jìnglǐ) mean to formally salute someone, 回礼 (huílǐ) can also mean to return a salute.
婚礼 (hūnlǐ weddings) and 葬礼 (zànglǐ funerals) are the ceremonies one will likely have the occasion to attend a few times in life. For the former, monetary gifts are to be enclosed in red envelopes, while for the latter, white envelopes are normally used.
礼拜 (lǐbài) is a religious service or worship. 做礼拜 (zuòlǐbài) means worshiping at a church, which is called a 礼拜堂 (lǐbàitáng) or a 教堂 (jiàotáng). The days of the week are often referred to as the days of worship. For example, 礼拜六 (lǐbàiliù) means the same as 星期六 (xīngqīliù), which is Saturday (the sixth day of worship).
洗礼 (xǐlǐ) means baptism. It also refers to a severe test (of one’s character, ability, etc.).
We’ve previously come across the word 礼貌 (lǐmào politeness or manners). 有礼貌 (yǒu lǐmào) means polite and courteous. 没有礼貌 (méiyǒu lǐmào) means impolite or rude. The formal word for being ill-mannered is 无礼 (wúlǐ), which is not to be confused with 无理 (wúlǐ unreasonable, unjustifiable).
Nèi wèi fúwùyuán méiyǒu lǐmào.
That waiter has no manners.
非礼 (fēilǐ) means showing disrespect.
赔礼 (péilǐ) is to offer an apology. It means the same as 道歉 (dàoqiàn). If your kid has offended Mr. Wang, you could say:
Kuài qù xiàng Wáng xiānsheng dàoqiàn!
Go apologize to Mr. Wang right now!
Zǐ yuē: Yī shí zú érhòu zhī lǐ yì.
Confucius said, “Only after one is fed and clothed can one be expected to observe propriety and justice.”
Here, 子 (Zǐ) refers to 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ Confucius), and 曰 (yuē) is the classical word for “to say”.
衣 (yī) are clothings and 食 (shí) are foods.
足 (zú) means to have a sufficient amount of something.
而后 (érhòu) means after that, or then.
知 (zhī) means to know or to be aware of.
义 (yì) means justice or righteousness.
Confucius served as an adviser to a number of rulers in his time. Much of what he said thousands of years ago still rings true today.