You’ve probably noticed red paper cuttings like these celebrating Chinese New Year, but do you know what they mean?
Paper cutting is an indispensable part of traditional Chinese culture, and originated from ancient activities for worshipping the ancestors and gods. These artworks are used to decorate walls and windows, which is why they are sometimes called “chuāng huā” (窗花), meaning Window Flower.
But why are they sometimes placed upside-down?
History tells us that one Chinese New Year, a family unwittingly put their Fu upside down. On the first day of the festival, their first guest came to visit, saw the upside-down 福, and kindly shouted to them: “你们的福倒了!” or “Your Fu is upside down!”
Although 倒 (dao/daoww) means “upside down,” it has the same pronunciation as 到 (dao/daoww), which means “to arrive.”
So “你们的福倒了” could also be understood as: “Your Fu (blessing) has arrived.” (你们的福到了).
People liked the alternative meaning so much that they started fixing their Fu decorations upside down to “invoke” the arrival of blessings.
You can take a look at more of this wonderful art in this video:
Get in on the party and enjoy the Chinese New Year even more this year with the Chinese New Year Festival & Party Guide.