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New Year Couplets

A couplet is a set of good luck sayings that give hope for success, wealth, good health, and happiness. It is a Chinese tradition to decorate the entrance of a house with a couplet. These sayings are permanently affixed to the entrance of a home by either painting the characters with gold or black paint with a red background or gluing red paper with calligraphy written on it to the wall. This permanent couplet is known as a duì lián (37).

In addition to the duì lián, the Chinese celebrate the New Year by posting the chūn lián. The chūn lián is a temporary duì lián posted each year before New Year’s Eve (38). It is intended to usher in a new year filled with luck.

Couplets are displayed around the doorway of a house and are composed of up to three different lines. The first line is posted vertically on the right side of the door; the second vertically on the left; and an optional third can be posted horizontally above the door (39). Although the text of a couplet may vary, the color scheme is always the same. The two main colors used are the good luck colors: red representing happiness and gold representing fortune.