Words of hope for blessed lunar New Year – a traditional custom

People look at the calligraphic words at the Quoc Tu Giam (Imperial Academy) (Photo: VNA)   Hanoi (VNA) – For generations, Vietnamese have preserved a traditional New Year custom ofcollecting calligraphic words written in ancient Vietnamese-Chinese script. Thepractice reflects their respect for knowledge and learning. Word-asking activity – a New Year traditional customA long time ago,when the lunar New Year began, people looked for scholarly intellectuals, who understoodcalligraphy, to ask for meaningful words or sets of words. Word-seekers wereoften heads of families, who wished for new opportunities and for their relatives’academic fortunes. Calligraphers were prestigious teachers or nationallyhonoured contributors. According tocalligrapher Cung Khac Luoc, the words connect the writer’s mind and the word-seeker’sheart. When people ask for words, they ask not only for luck but also for forkindness and the talent of the calligraphers to remind them to lead a goodlife, he said.The activitydemonstrates the nation’s desire for knowledge, Luoc noted.In the past, theword-asking event was a special occasion, whose date and time needed to bechosen carefully. The words, once brought home, would be hanged at the bestspots inside.Words in theancient Vietnamese-Chinese script could be written in many different ways basedon writers’ moods, styles and creativity. Calligraphers’ work was imbued with expectationsfor a year of happiness and peace ahead. Words are selected following theseekers’ wishes. The most popular ones included “Blessing” and “Luck” forfamilies and children; “Prosperity”, “Wealth”, and “Creditability” forbusinessmen; “Talent” and “Success” for students; “Longevity” for peopleyearning for good health and a long life; and “Patience” for those who… [Read full story]


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