Writing couplets to welcome the Spring Festival


As the Spring Festival, the most important traditional festival in China, is approaching at the start of 2020, an activity was held to greet the new year at ECNU's libraries in Minhang and Zhongbei. The activity was called " Every One Come and Write Spring Festival Couplets". 

From December 31, 2019 to January 10, 2020, calligraphy enthusiasts came to the libraries and write the couplets, ask the calligraphers for a Fu (a Chinese character meaning blessings or happiness), or hang their couplets to show their delight for the festival and make new year wishes. Writing and passing couplets is a tradition for Chinese people when they celebrate the arrival of the Spring Festival, which falls on January 25th this year.

Among the visitors were some foreign friends, who got a chance to experience the Chinese traditional Spring Festival culture by trying their hands on writing Chinese calligraphy.

Keenan Buchanan, an ECNU student from the U.S. majoring in International Relations said, “I want to try to practice calligraphy and show my support to ECNU and my appreciation to Chinese language. I think Chinese language is beautiful. It expresses not only words in meaning in writing but also feelings, you can express yourself by the way you write something. Besides I am always impressed by the traditional values that China has, for example the respect of family.”

Zheng Zaiyi, a South Korean student from the School of International Chinese Studies of ECNU said, “It is glad to have this chance to practice Chinese calligraphy. I’m keen on learning languages. Though Mandarin Chinese is considered as one of the hardest languages to learn, it is fun to learn it.”

Since 2014 this activity has been held on a yearly basis in hopes of inheriting Chinese traditional culture and creating a festive atmosphere on campus.

“The Spring Festival couplets reflect the warmth carried by the Chinese culture. They also show the warmth of humanity and kindness,” said Prof. Hu Xiaoming, director of the ECNU library. “Meanwhile, they are a comprehensive art form, exhibiting the charm of calligraphy, literature, and folk customs in one. They also serve as a window to understand our times.”

Spring Festival couplets, or Chunlian in Chinese, are two antithetical poetic lines that are complementary to each other in form and meaning. The couplets are often used to decorate doors and express hopes and happiness for the coming year.

Edited by Xu Xincheng Siyuan Zhang     

Proofread by Joshua Mayfield    

Reviewed by Wenjun Guo


East China Normal University