Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chinese New Year 2009 - Part 3 - Chinese New Year's Chun Lian/Couplets

Chun lian is a special type of Duilian, or couplet. It is used only during the Chinese New Year as part of its celebration. While duilian is permanent, chunlian is a temporary decoration to be placed on the entrance of the house, somewhat akin to Halloween and Christmas decorations.

Duilian comprises of a couplet written on vertical strips of red paper in the best calligraphic style one can muster.

The first (called upper) line is posted on the right side of the front door.The second (called lower) line is posted on the left side of the front door.

In addition, a third horizontal piece may be posted across and on top the door.

The above are known as "duilian which are placed at the side of the doors.

The above are chun lian and the more commerical ones comes with cute pictures.


Kitem said...

I didn't know about these decorations. Chinese New Year is so full of meaning, and so interesting, I am learning a lot with your posts, tank you so much for sharing.
I'll be in Kl on saturday, just on time, I guess dear daughter in law is busy preparing the house for us.

Jim said...

They all look neat.

alicesg said...

Hi Kitem, I guess there will be double celebration for your family in KL. The Chinese New Year and the arrival of the beautiful princess. :) Hope you have a great time in KL.

Anonymous said...

I am really enjoying learning about the New Year traditions here.. Michelle

Lara said...

so interesting! what is written on these?

Anonymous said...

Alice, if I'm allowed, what does RED colour mean? I ask 'cause I see it's very present in every object.

Photo Cache said...

Very interesting. Do they all say the same thing, or do you have to choose from the sentiments written?

alicesg said...

Ferreira Pinto, Chinese New Year is a very important festival for all chinese. Why use red?

Red can represent luck, happiness and joy but red can meant fire and power too. Legend had it that "Nian" a monster would attacked the villages during the spring festival (also known as Chinese New Year), but "Nian" is afraid of loud noises and the colour red. So the villagers frighten the monsters away by lighting firecrackers and pasting red papers all over the villages every spring.

Today the red papers comes with wordings and known as "Chun Lian" or couplets.

Couplets are always red and contained Chinese good luck sayings written on them. Pasting red couplets has been an important part of the Chinese New Year's celebration since ancient times.

Firecrackers are banned in my country. Only organisers with special permit are allowed to light the firecrackers in destinated area. Cause firecrackers causes a lot of fires and injury because of the extensive use by almost everyone during chinese new year. I missed the good days where we can play with firecrackers. My two grown up sons have never play firecrackers before because of the ban.

alicesg said...

Michelle, am glad you are enjoying yourself here. It is like taking a virtual tour of our chinatown and feeling the chinese new year. :)

Lara, the wordings are different. Those with longer wordings are pasted beside the doors are usually blessing the whole family with luck, good health and safety as the family walked in and out of the door to the outside.

Those couplets with one word are usually "fu" meaning fortune and chinese usually hang the "fu" couplet upside down in the house cause when the upside down fu read "daofu" the dao can also meant arrived so it can be read as arrival of fortune.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Alice!
It was very kind of you.