春聯 DIY spring couplets
Chinese New Year is less than a month away, and this week I learnt to write spring couplets in my Chinese calligraphy class.
Spring couplets are a pair of poetic lines written on red paper, and are normally hung on either side of the front door or somewhere prominent indoors if you have a very big house. It is customary to do this as part of the Chinese New Year preparations. Think of it as hanging your Christmas decorations. The content of the couplets varies but they usually convey auspicious messages, very important for the new year. Both lines must have the same number of characters and the corresponding characters should be in the same lexical group such as noun, verb, number.
Compared to normal calligraphy, the font on spring couplets are much larger so I practiced on normal calligraphy paper first. My teacher always says my calligraphy style is like me, light and tiny, so I have to write bigger and bolder characters now. After a few practices, he asked me to start writing on the red couplet paper he bought along. The texture of the paper is much thicker and doesn’t absorb ink well like the normal paper, so I felt quite nervous as I wanted to do myself and my teacher proud on my first attempt. Here’s my writing alongside my teacher’s. If you know Chinese, you can easily tell which is mine, and if you don’t know Chinese, well you can probably still tell which is mine.
Despite the imperfections, I was very pleased with it (I have low expectations). When I lifted it to move it aside, I accidently brushed it against some other paper on the table and the last character is all smudged now😖 . Nonetheless I’m still very proud with my first attempt, and now its hanging proudly on my wall at home as I have a big ego.
I didn’t have time to write the second line in class, but here’s my practice.
Writing spring couplets are quite difficult for a beginner like me as there are fourteen characters, so my homework is to write hui chun instead. These are shorter phrases with 4 characters conveying a simply auspicious message such as good luck, health, prosperity, fortune etc. Here I’m practising to write fortune and luck. I hope I will improve a lot in the next few weeks and can you show you the results. Wish me good luck!