Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

Follow along with us as we explore World Cultures - subscribe by email


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Chinese New Year - Chunlian (Part 1)

You can find all our posts on Chinese New Year HERE

After the house has been cleaned, Chinese families hang up new Chun Lian: red banners with written couplets about the return of spring, and diamond shaped paper with good luck symbols. These are hung up in and around doorways, because that is where the new year will enter the house. Red is considered very lucky, and gold symbolizes wealth. 

Photo Credit: Chrislb

Here you'll find a photo album of couplets being made and used in China in preparation for the Lunar New Year.

We bought chinese bamboo calligraphy brushes at a local art supply store- I was going to start with two medium brushes and some ink, but there was a kit available that included a small and medium brush, ink, watercolors, rice paper, and a soft pad to use underneath the paper. The kit was a better overall deal, and I would have never known to use that soft padding, which was quite nice. I wasn't able to find quality red paper at the art supply store, so I ended up getting red tissue paper at a dollar store, and it worked quite nicely. I did iron the tissue paper beforehand, which does seem a like a little much, but those folded creases were detracting from the girls' calligraphy.

We started off last night making the diamond shaped Chunlian. These are often put on bedroom doors and mirrors around the house. The girls practiced using the brushes on some scrap paper, and when they felt comfortable moved onto the tissue paper - though both had a few tries before being happy with their work.

We also added some gold touches with a metallic marker. The black and gold inks stand out really nicely against the red paper. We hung them up on our bedroom doors and the girls are really pleased with their work, and how it came together. 

The Good Luck symbol is traditionally hung upside down, because the word for upside down sounds like the word for "arrive"

I've made a printable of various lucky Chinese characters that can be replicated to make Chunlian.

If you'd like a printable Lucky Chinese sign, Miss Panda Chinese has this great one pictured below available to print here. Print on red paper and color in the "Lucky" character in black or gold.

Photo Credit: Miss Panda Chinese

Tomorrow, we'll make our Chunlian banners, to hang around the front door.

You can find more cultural and historical activities at the following linkups:


  1. Oh, I love how they turned out!! How wonderful! I love all of your photos. Thanks for linking up!

  2. I love that your girls wrote the lucky word signs with Chinese brushes. Thank you for including my printable in the post.

    1. Thanks Amanda, practicing Chinese calligraphy has been one of the best parts with our "year in China" - and I'm grateful to you for the printable!


Thanks for stopping by to visit. Please feel free to leave a comment, it's lovely to hear from you!

Blog Design by Delicious Design Studio