As the Lunar New Year approaches, some of our downtown merchants can be seen decorating their businesses with lanterns, couplets, paper cuttings, and other items. Dazzling and glittering Chinese New Year decorations never fail to capture the magic and energy of this fabulous season.
Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival in China, is the most important traditional holiday in Chinese communities. It takes place on a different date each year because it is based on the lunar calendar, marking the ‘Start of Spring’. This year’s lunar new year begins on Saturday, January 28, 2017. It is said to be a powerful one, with no middle of the road when it comes to moving forward.
Be sure to look for colorful decorations when visiting some of the Asian-inspired restaurants, martial arts studios, and other businesses in Alameda’s downtown district.
It’s interesting to know that the decorations you may see also carry symbolic meaning:
Chinese Red Lanterns — Hanging a red lantern in front of the door is believed to drive off bad luck. During Chinese New Year it is not uncommon to see lanterns hung on business offices.
Door Couplets — New Year couplets contain brush works of Chinese calligraphy posted on each side of a door frame. The message on the couplets is filled with best wishes for the coming year. The couplets are thought to keep evil away.
Paper Cuttings — It is customary to display paper cutouts on windows during the Chinese New Year for luck and happiness. The theme of the New Year’s paper cutting typically contains the image of an auspicious plant or animal. The rooster is expected to be a popular image this year.
Upside-Down Fu Characters — The pasting of big diamonds of paper calligraphy with the “fu” Chinese character is deliberately inverted on or over doors. It means a business wishes for “good fortune” to “pour out” on them. Read the rest of this entry »