This is the first idiom I'm introducing a Chinese idiom in 2016. I figured...what better way to kick off the year with a Chinese myth! Funny enough, this myth is also an idiom, which means it has 4 characters: 开天辟地. The literal translation is: heaven separated from earth.
According to a legend long ago, the sky and the earth were glued together. There was no up, down, left or right. The world was a glob of delicious chaos…like an egg!
18,000 years after the world was created, an entity known as Panku awoken from this egg. But he couldn’t see anything through the nebulous glob and felt the atmosphere was too suffocating.
Now Panku was very powerful, like a super genie and he conjured up a magic axe, hacking his way out of the cloudy environment.
Shortly, the murky clouds opened up and the skies became clear. The dark muck on the ground cleared up and became dirt. He had hacked away so much the sky and the earth slowly separated.
Panku however, was concerned that without his constant hacking, the sky and the earth will eventually stick back together again. He wedged his back against the sky, and lifted his hands up to keep it in place. He placed his feet firmly on the ground and pushed the sky and earth away from each other.
Poor Panku stayed in this uncomfortable position for another 18,000 years, making sure the sky and earth would never close ever again.
It was in this position that Panku passed away…but his entity blended in with the world. His every breath became the winds. The sounds that he once made, became the thunder we hear. His left eye became the sun, and his right eye became the moon. His hair and his beard disintegrated and became the stars we see at night. The blood that was once coursing through his veins became the rivers and oceans.
Moral of this idiom: This is how the Chinese explained how the world was created. But it is also used when referring to something that is unprecedented. Or, to refer to a trailblazer.
ORIGINAL IDIOM: 开天辟地