The Chinese (Lunar) New Year will fall on February 15 in the year 2018. It will be the year of the Dog as well. How do the Chinese prepare for this huge holiday, their biggest, most important holiday of the year? Cleaning, cooking, shopping, and decorating the house are their main preparations.
The two main things people will use to decorate their house (after they have thoroughly cleaned it, of course) is to hang up Chun Lian outside of their doors. Since most Chinese homes only have one entrance, they just buy one set of chun lian. They are rhyming poems comprised of three parts. The three parts are each written on a separate piece of paper. A short piece is hung above the door and two longer sections are hung on either side of the door. The longer pieces have words that are opposites but they must also have some rhyme to them. The shorter top piece is a summary of the other two pieces. In ancient times scholars would have competitions to come up with new poems to demonstrate their mastery of the language and their creative talents.
Some craftsmen will use their calligraphy skills to earn money by writing these poems on pieces of red paper. They will usually use black or gold ink. In most large cities in China you can get a simple set of them for under $1 US. You can also purchase printed chun lian at most markets prior to the Chinese New Year.
Another Door decoration that Chinese will put up is a square piece of paper with one Chinese Character ‘fu’ written on it. However the paper is turned so it is similar to the shape of a diamond and the character is upside down. It’s a creative play on words. The character will almost always be upside down.
On their windows, Chinese will often put some red paper cuttings of Chinese characters or things that are considered lucky. This year you will find many paper cuttings of dogs since it is going to be the year of the dogs.