Couplets in Chinese culture
By Marie Yvonne Balingouma  ·  2021-04-19  ·   Source: NO.16 APRIL 22, 2021
Marie Yvonne Balingouma shows the Spring Festival couplets she wrote (SBONGUMUSA THABANI THABETHE)

Culture and tradition are the soul of a country. When a country loses its culture and tradition, it is difficult for it to make progress. Chinese people protect their culture and traditions.

I have learned about Chinese culture and tradition at school. It is visible everywhere in China but I did not really understand it in the beginning. Then I realized sometimes I have to experience something in order to understand it.

During the winter vacation this year, I decided to stay at our university to participate in all the activities organized for foreign students to celebrate the Spring Festival and immerse myself in Chinese culture.

The preparation began a month ago with the decorating of our rooms with Spring Festival couplets and new year paintings. People in China usually stick the couplets on their doors on New Year's Eve.

On February 10, we launched an activity to write Spring Festival couplets. When I saw my teachers bring a special kind of pen, I became curious. Why is there such a pen? How do we use it? Later I learned that this kind of pen is called brush pen.

In addition, the teachers also brought a lot of red paper. I guessed that we were going to use a brush to write Chinese characters on red paper. In addition, there was another magical thing called ink.

After understanding the tools needed to write Spring Festival couplets, we started our creative journey. The teacher taught us how to hold a writing brush. I tried to hold it, dip it in the ink, and start writing carefully, but the tip of the pen was too soft and I couldn't grasp it at all. I was disappointed but I did not give up. I carefully studied the teacher's method. After several attempts, I wrote a line of words. At this time, I found that my sleeves were already stained with ink as I was too focused on practicing. Even so, I was very happy, because I felt that I had learned the essence of writing calligraphy, that is, to hold the pen in the correct posture. I compared the Spring Festival couplets we wrote with those of my friends. I felt mine were better!

Afterward, the teacher asked us to show the Spring Festival couplets we wrote. Using the words I had learned in class, I wrote "Bullish" as a horizontal inscription.

I know that 2021 is the Year of the Ox in China. Every year in China is associated with one of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. I heard from the teacher that this has existed since the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-

A.D. 25) and has a very long history. It has been passed down onto the present day, which is enough to show how much Chinese people attach importance to cultural inheritance. I respect history very much and like to study culture. Chinese culture makes me full of yearning and desire to explore. I stuck my work and the Spring Festival couplet given to me by my teacher on the door of my room. This was also the most meaningful Spring Festival for me in China.

I have pinned all my wishes and blessings on the Spring Festival couplets I wrote. Just like the meaning of the Spring Festival couplets, I hope that I can learn and improve in the new year. I love China and Chinese culture! BR

The author is a medical student from Gabon studying at Nanchang University

Copyedited by Madhusudan Chaubey

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