年年忧郁 - a sad squid's new year greeting

The homophonous sad squid

An unscheduled hiatus this week as I sort through some family matters.

In lieu of PutongWords posts, here’s a 年画 (niánhuà) “(new) year picture” featuring the 忧郁鱿鱼 (yōuyù yóuyú) “sad squid”, my melancholy mollusk friend. 年画 is a colorful traditional art form that was used to decorate homes around new years time, usually featuring auspicious imagery and colors.

年年有余 (niánnián yǒuyú) is the traditional pun paired with fish imagery, as 有余 (yǒuyú) “have surplus” sounds exactly like 有鱼 (yǒuyú) “have fish”. A joyous wish of having a bountiful year.

I took the liberty of creating a 年年忧郁 (niánnián yōuyù) “melancholy every year” image featuring a much less auspicious but infinitely more relatable homophone, not so much a wish that you will have a worrisome year, but a show of solidarity in these worrying times.

I hope it’s not contradictory for me to still wish everyone a happy new year, because even in uncertain times, we can still cherish and enjoy good times with the ones we love, and promise to face the future together.

— f