Chinese New Year banner 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 banner you can imagine.
Below I are 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 Chinese New Year Banner/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 Chinese New Year Banner
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. Most are included in the free printables I created:
- 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, every Chinese New Year is represented by a different animal. As a result, there are special blessings centering around a specific animal each year.
Free Chinese New Year Banner Printables
To make life easier for you, I created some Chinese New Year banner 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 also four long banners and four square banners included.
The smaller sized banners are more suitable for older kids. With younger kids, I suggest letting them color the larger banners’ characters with markers, colored pencils, glitter glue pen or black/gold paint.
When I first created these banners, my daughter was three had a harder time painting the smaller ones. But my student who is six had no problem painting them.
Christian Chinese New Year Banner
I also created Christian versions of these banners. Many believers in Chinese speaking countries will purchase banners with verses or Biblical truths and place these blessings around their door frames, or on the walls and doors of their home.
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).
Here are the blessings that are written on the Christian Chinese New Year banners including the English definition 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 helps create 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 an example 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’ve already signed up, here’s a direct link to my printables page.
Thank you for stopping by! If you and your little ones do use my Chinese New Year banner, 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!
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
- Chinese New Year Videos for Kids
- Chinese New Year Activity for Kids: Coconut Rice Cake Recipe 椰汁年糕
- 20+ 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 from likeminded parents, please join us at Christian Parents Raising Bilingual Children in English & Chinese.
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