As prescribed by Paulina Constancia

Dose #36 – New Year Couplets

Chinese New Year is just around the corner. Music, merchandise and other CNY paraphernalia abound to help Chinese folks in celebrating the beginning of another lunar year, the  Year of the Sheep.

On my regular commute on the MRT, I happened to read Yeo’s CNY ads.  I am 1/8 Chinese but do not really know much about the Chinese culture.  So, I thought it would be wise to feature these informative transit ads on DDoA so I could do further research and learn more about this part of my heritage.

We start with “All I Need To Know About CNY
I Learned from a Transit Ad”

1 of 8

Dose #36: New Year Couplets

Spotted at: YEO’s  Transit Ads, MRT Stations across Singapore

What I Learned About CNY: “New Year couplets printed in gold letters on bright red paper are decorated on the main door and across the household. Auspicious greeting couplets express a prosperous and magnificent year ahead.” -YEO’s  poster
Note: The 15 day Chinese New Year celebration period is also known as the Spring Festival.

New Year Couplets


A Little About Chinese couplets:
Info from Wikipedia

In Chinese poetry, a couplet ( duìlián

  • is a pair of lines of poetry which adhere to certain rules .
  • outside of poems –  they are usually seen on the sides of doors leading to people’s homes or as hanging scrolls in an interior.
  • although often called antithetical couplet, they can better be described as a written form of counterpoint.
  • consists of  two lines that have a one-to-one correspondence in their metrical length, and each pair of characters must have certain corresponding properties
  •  is ideally profound yet concise, using one character per word in the style of Classical Chinese.
  • has a  special, widely seen type called the spring couplet (chūnlián), used as a New Year’s decoration that expresses happy and hopeful thoughts for the coming year.”  Info from Wikipedia

Read more info about the CNY/Spring Couplets on chinatourguide.net and jiangxi

Here are some examples of chun lian with their English translation
Info & Image from uuciteacher


examples of chun lian with english translation


Here are some images of Chun lian or New Year/Spring couplets:


An old calligraphy painting depicting the writing of couplets
Image via chinapage.com



Store display of spring Couplets
Image from jiangxi


CNY couplets

Photo of a family in rural China hanging their couplets as a team!
“Couplets displayed as part of the Chinese New Year festival, on the first morning of the New Year, are called chunlian. These are usually purchased at a market a few days before and glued to the doorframe. During the Spring Festival of every year, all families in both urban and rural areas traditionally handpick a pair of Spring Festival couplets to paste on the door, adding some joyous atmosphere to the festival.” – Image from jiangxi


store with couplets

Wingngai Shop at Tanglin Mall, Singapore.
The store owner was kind enough to tell me that the right banner says GOOD LUCK
and the left one says something about PROSPERITY.


Watch this BON TV video to learn more about the history of the Chunlian or spring couplets

rx-logo-11So do…ponder on the value of making or doing something together as a family, as a team. To the Chinese- even something as simple as gluing the chunlian couplets and delighting in the poetic message it carries makes for a great bonding moment – creating a collective memory to cherish for years and years to come.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on February 5, 2015 by in Bond, Communicate and tagged , .
%d bloggers like this: