The Chinese character 和 (hé) stands for harmony or peace and is also a conjunction in Chinese that is equivalent to “and” in English.
The meaning of 和 can be explained by examining the character’s original form, 龢.
On the left, the character 龠 (yuè) is the name of an ancient Chinese flute-like musical instrument. It is composed of three parts: 亼 (jí) at the top means to assemble or gather together, 品 (pǐn) depicts holes, and 冊 (cè) at the bottom refers to the bamboo used to make the instrument.
Moreover, putting 亼 and 冊 together makes 侖, the radical that stands for logical reasoning or logical order.
On the right of 龢 is 禾, the character for grain.
Thus, the components of 龢 together portray the traditional Chinese ideal of harmony between nature and humankind.
This ideal also carries the associated meanings of balance and order, duty and diligence, respect and appreciation, and peaceful coexistence and cooperation.
Some common terms using 和 include 和平 (hé píng), peace, mild, or good-natured; 和約 (hé yuē), a peace treaty; 和味 (hé wèi) well-flavoured or delicately seasoned; 和諧 (hé xié) or 和睦 (hé mù), to be harmonious or on good terms; and 和解 (hé jiě) or 講和 (jiǎng hé), to reconcile, compromise, or make peace.
風和日暖 (fēng hé rì nuǎn) conveys an image of a gentle breeze and warm sunshine.
和為貴 (hé wéi guì) states that harmony is most precious—a core concept in traditional Chinese culture.
心平氣和 (xīn píng qì hé) describes a peaceful heart and mind.
和而不同 (hé ér bù tóng) refers to seeking harmony while maintaining differences. That is, one must not comply only on the surface but must cultivate inner peace without grievance, meanwhile understanding the diversity among all things and advancing the free expression of views.
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