January 25th 2020 is Chinese New Year day. A typical, happy greeting is: Gong Xi Fa Cai! 恭喜發財 Wishing you happiness and prosperity!
In decorating their houses at this time, people like to paste Paper Cuttings on their windows and doors. This enduring and cheerful tradition goes back at least 1500 years. The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is one of the main times of the year when fresh paper cuttings will decorate houses.
Red paper is preferred and is the most commonly used because red symbolizes happiness but, really, any color can be used.
Since 2020 is the year of the rat, many paper cuttings will have its image either cut out in the center or drawn on the paper. If the latter, a border will be cut out around the square, forming an elaborate frame.
A couple of other very popular images on these red squares are:
- the character chun 春 for spring—which is a positive word because spring suggests a new beginning and growth—and
- the character fu 福 for good fortune, happiness, and luck.
If chun or fu are written on the paper, they will often be pasted upside down on the window or door. Being upside down symbolizes the dumping out of the character’s goodness and blessing the house with prosperity and luck.
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Image is a free stock photo from rgbstock.com