Chinese New Year banners or 春聯 (春联/chūnlián) are an essential part of the New Year celebration. When we were living in Taiwan, as soon as Chinese New Year drew near, stores would be taken over by them. Literally an entire aisle would be plastered with all the different types of Chinese New Year banners you can imagine.
Below I will go over the origin of the banners, the different popular auspicious blessings written on them and their meanings. Last but not least, I created Chinese New Year banner printables for you and your kiddos to easily make your own!
Origin of New Year Banners/春聯
The legend goes that every year the 年 (nián/year) monster would pillage the villages. The villagers were unable to defend themselves and lived in fear until one year when an old beggar man taught the villagers how to ward off the monster with red banners, fire crackers and noise from chopping pork for dumpling filling.
Nowadays people put up banners with auspicious blessings, mostly surrounding topics of wealth, good fortune and health, to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Popular Blessings Written on Banners
There are two main types of banners hug around and on door frames during Chinese New Year. One is a diamond shape with one character written on it, usually 福 (fú/fortune) or 春 (chūn/Spring). The other is longer banner with either four or more Chinese characters of auspicious blessings written on it.
The diamond shaped banners are oftentimes turned upside down to symbolize wishes of good fortune (福/fú) and Spring (春/chūn) arriving early. Since the Chinese character for inverted (倒/dào) is the same as pouring forth (倒/dào), these smaller banners are put up upside down to symbolize blessings pouring into the home or business.
Here are some of the most popular Lunar New Year blessings or 吉祥話 (吉祥话/jí xiáng huà), their meanings and pronunciations:
- 恭喜發財/恭喜发财/gōng xǐ fā cái: wishes for good fortune
- 吉祥如意/jí xiáng rú yì: good luck
- 五福臨門/五福临门/wǔ fú lín mén: five blessings come upon your door/home
- 萬事如意/万事如意/wàn shì rú yì: all things go as you wish
- 新年快樂/新年快乐/xīn nián kuài lè: happy New Year
- 年年有餘/年年有余/nián nián yǒu yú: every year you’ll be blessed with abundance (have leftover)
Due to the Chinese Zodiac, there is a different animal in focus every Chinese New Year. As a result, there are special blessings centering around that specific animal each year.
Since this year is the year of the pig, and the Chinese character for pig, 豬(zhū) sounds the same as 諸 (zhū), the character for everything or all, the character is replaced with pig as a play on words in some of the blessings.
Below are some fun blessings specific to the Year of the Pig:
- 諸事順利/诸事顺利/zhū shì shùn lì: everything go well
- 豬豬平安/猪猪平安/zhū zhū píng’ān: everything go well/at peace
- 豬年吉祥/猪年吉祥/zhū nián jíxiáng: auspicious year of the pig
- 吉祥如豬/吉祥如猪/jí xiáng rú zhū: as auspicious as a pig
Free Chinese New Year Banner Printables
To make life easier for you, I created some Chinese New Year banners for you and your kids to have fun learning Chinese characters and celebrating the Lunar New Year. All you need to do is to print them out (I used red card stock), cut them and let the kids paint, color or glitter glue away!
My daughter and my student love to paint so I set out some washable black paint for them to color in the characters. It’s also common to write blessings in auspicious gold color so give that a try too!
I created two versions of the banners, both versions are available in traditional and simplified Chinese. Some banners are with smaller characters (two banners on one page) and one that’s larger (two pages create one large banner). The larger one is closer to normal sized banners. There are four long banners and four square banners included.
The smaller sized banners are more suitable for older kids. When used with younger kids, I suggest letting them color the characters with markers or colored pencils. My daughter who is three had a harder time painting the smaller ones. But my student who is six had no problem painting these.
I also created Christian versions of these banners. Many believers in Chinese speaking countries will purchase banners with verses or truths about God and put these blessings around their door frames, or their living room walls.
The Christian versions (in traditional and simplified) include four smaller long banners, one larger long banner and one square banner with the word 恩 (Ēn/grace).
The Christian banners that are included, their meaning and pronunciation:
- 主恩滿溢/主恩满溢/zhǔ ēn mǎn yì: grace of God overflow
- 神恩無限/神恩无限/shén ēn wú xiàn: no limit to the grace of God
- 十架之光/shí jià zhī guāng: light of the Cross
- 以馬內利/以马内利/ Yǐ mǎ nèi lì: Emanuel
Hanging The Banners
My daughter insisted putting up these banners on our door herself since she is currently obsessed with tape (praying for Scotch to sponsor my blog, anyone with connections? :P).
Children love seeing their work displayed at home, it gives them a sense a pride not to mention a Chinese rich environment for young language learners.
Both girls also had fun seeing pictures of how 春聯 (春联/chūnlián/banners) are put up around houses in Chinese speaking countries. Here’s one below for you to show your kiddos to let them see how they’re participating in an ancient tradition.
Access Printable Banners
To access the free printable banners, register below. After confirming your email, you’ll receive a password to access the printables.
If you have any problems, please feel free to contact me.
Thank you for stopping by! If you and your little ones do use these banners, please tag me @spotofsunshineChinese on social media or share your pictures in the comments below, on Instagram or on my FaceBook page. We would LOVE to see your banners!
Happy Chinese New Year!
More Chinese New Year Goodies
For some more fun Chinese New Year related learning activities, check out the following posts:
- Chinese New Year Songs and Lyrics
- 15+ Fun and Educational Chinese New Year Activities for Kids! from CHALK Academy
- Chinese Culture for Kids Series: Chinese Lunar New Year Guide – Tradition, Taboos, and Celebration from Miss Panda
- Chinese New Year Pre-K/K FULL Theme Packs from Fortune Cookie Mom
More Resources to Help You Have Fun Teaching Your Kids Chinese!
- Plan Your Best Year of Teaching Your Kids Chinese 計畫成功的一年
- How Chinese Became Our Daughter’s Dominate Language at Age 2
- Me and My Daughter’s Language Adventure
- TOP 6 RESOURCES FOR DOING FAMILY DEVOTIONS IN CHINESE 家庭靈修資源
Don’t Do It Alone!
For more support and to commiserate with likeminded parents, please join us at Christian Parents Raising Bilingual Children in English & Chinese.
Other great FaceBook groups for parents raising bilingual kids:
- Raising Bilingual Parents in Chinese & English
- Raising Bilingual/Multilingual Children
- Montessori-Inspired Kids Learning Chinese
Follow me on my FaceBook Page & my Instagram accounts where I share fun Chinese activities (@spotofsunshineChinese) we’re doing and encouragement for your heart rooted in Christ (@spotofsunshine).