Preparations for the Chinese New Year in old China started well in advance of the New Year's Day. The 20th of the Twelfth Moon was set aside for the annual housecleaning, or the "sweeping of the grounds". Every corner of the house must be swept and cleaned in preparation for the new year. Then kitchen god will be worshiped.

This talk will explain the history, symbol, custom and activities of the whole month for Chinese New Year.

Then the teacher will talk about the Spring Couplets (chunlianr), which was written in black ink on large vertical scrolls of red paper, and were put on the walls or on the sides of the gate-ways. These couplets, short poems written in Classical Chinese, were expressions of good wishes for the family in the coming year. In addition, symbolic flowers and fruits were used to decorate the house, and colorful new year pictures (nian huar) were placed on the walls.

In addition to pasting couplets on both sides and above the main door, it is also common to hang calligraphic writing of the Chinese characters for "spring" and "wealth." Some people will even invert these drawings since the Chinese for "inverted" is a homonym in Chinese for "arrive," thus signifying that spring and wealth have arrived. These poems written must have the same character counts on both sides, the same structure and harmony in sound.

Come and learn all about Chinese New Year preparation, custom and the spring couplets. And then try your hand writting one to hang it up at your door.