Chinese New Year Couplets (Talismans) & the Kitchen God for 2017
A great school Chinese New Year project for the year of the Rooster 2017
© Originally written by Michael Hanna and Revised by Daniel Hanna 2016
Are you really prepared for 2017?
Chinese New Year Talisman Couplets and Kitchen God are both very old-fashioned festive charms that are used all over Asia in offices, shops and homes. These days, people from all over the world place the couplets and kitchen god on their walls and above the kitchen stove (also placed above extractor fans in modern times) because of their auspicious properties.
The talisman couplets are normally printed in black ink on a thick bright red paper as red is considered lucky and would be hung around the different rooms of homes, shops, offices or by the front door. It is also tradition to present the Talismans as a gift to send good wishes to friends and family throughout the year of the Rooster.
These Talisman Couplets and the Kitchen God make a very beautiful gift to print out and give as a present to a family member or friends during the build-up to Chinese New Year 2017 although they can be given and placed at any time of the year in the year of the Rooster.
These Couplets/Talismans are usually used by most Chinese families and businesses but over the years, this has become a much more common practice with people from all walks of life across the globe. The Talismans are very powerful in any area of the world whether that is Hong Kong, Canada, France, Singapore, USA, Australia or here in the UK, they are very powerful and are known to discourage all evil and bring peace, harmony, happiness and good fortunes to the occupants of the building they are placed in if they are displayed in the correct way as shown below. These are very good to use in the year of the Yin Fire Rooster 2017.
Red is a very auspicious colour for the Chinese as it is said to frighten off the New Year monster ‘Nian’who arrives and destroys crops and homes during Chinese New Year celebrations. “Nian” has three flaws which are sunshine, noise and the colour red which is why red firecrackers are commonly used during Chinese New Year celebrations as villagers in older times would build huge fires and paint the front door of their house red with red couplets placed behind the doors; they would then set off firecrackers around their village to scare the “Nian” monster away. The colour red also represents good fortune, fame and riches to the Chinese.
The legend of the Nian monster which translates to “year” is told thathe would visit villages on the eve of every Chinese New Year in order to eat the village people and animals. Villagers decided to flee to the mountains and even now, call the eve on New Year “Nian Guan” which translates to “the pass of Nian”. The villagers soon grew tired of living in fear and hiding from the Nian monster. On one Chinese New Year’s Eve, an old beggar came to Peach Blossom Village where he was greeted by an old lady who gave him some food and told him to go up in to the mountains to avoid the wrath of the Nian monster. The old beggar promised to scare the Nian monster away from Peach Blossom Village if the old lady would give him a bed for the night at her home. The old lady gave the beggar a bed in her home as she was unable to persuade him to come with her to the mountains. During the middle of the night on New Year’s Eve, the Nian monster came storming in to the village in search of the villagers and animals and went to the door of the old ladies home and cried when he found the talismans on the front door which were visible from the big fire in the middle of the village; the Nian monster headed for the door of the old ladies home and suddenly heard deafening noises at which point the old beggar opened the door to the home in a bright red robe and the monster was so scared that he ran out of the village and never came back.
These Feng Shui Couplets and Talismans can also be placed outside your home, shop or office beside the main door and also inside your home or office in any important rooms like the kitchen, bedroom, office and living room. They are traditionally hung on either side of the cooker or hob in the kitchen as of 28 January 2017. The Talismans are usually hung for two months after the beginning of the New Yearwhich falls on the 28 January 2017 although the vast majority of people including myself, leave them in place all year round for continued good luck throughout the year.
These two projects below are a fantastic activity for people of all ages and are a great task at school as children will especially enjoy this as it teaches them the cultures of different countries. If you are a teacher, please feel free to download this file and use it in your classroom. It would be great if you could send pictures of completed ones to us to see how they turn out!
Printing Instructions for the Talismans/Couplets
I have copied two versions below; one is in black and white and the other in colour which you can print straight from your colour printer. If you wish, you can also print the black and white version and colour it in yourself or print onto red paper. If you’re a teacher, this can be a really good creative task to give to children. Please feel free to use this in your class, all we ask is you do not alter or change any of the text on there. I would recommend printing this on the thicker than normal paper if possible as they look stunning.
Black & white version:
We recommend you print this on a A4 sheet of paper, you can print straight onto red paper/card if you which or if you prefer you can print on to white card/paper and use it as a great activity session with your children or class students. It is very common practise for the whole family to join in and usually when the task is complete, the head of the household will be given the role of placing the couplets.
I would also like to mention that if you do use red paper/card to print on or if you colour them in, it is best to use the same red shown below, as using a different shade of red can cause many unwanted problems.
If you would rather place them without colouring yourself, you can print this version straight from your printer in full colour format and cut it out and assign the head of the household the task of placing them.
Cut the couplets in half from top to bottom and place either side of your main doors, you should also place on either side of your cooker or hob.
If you have access to a laminating machine, it would be wise to laminate them or at least wrap them in a clear protective cover, this is more important for outside rather than the ones you hang by the cooker as they can become weathered very quickly when exposed to the elements but you could replace them as soon as they become weathered.
These very effective Couplets/Talismans are traditionally left on the door or cooker area for two months after Chinese New Year although many people including myself leave them all year round for continued good luck but they must be renewed each year so save this document for every year and pass onto as many friends and families as you can as it is considered very auspicious to receive a couplet especially without charge. I tend to change mine two or three times a year and will normally print a few copies out at the beginning of the year. Do not worry if you lose this document as we post a revised version on the website every year for you all.
Red Envelopes (Ang Pow)
Red envelopes also known as “red packets” “Ang Pow” “laisee” or “Hung-Bao” are also an important part of a traditional Chinese New Year. I have written an interesting article on this and also made another project should you wish to make your own. Follow this link for more details. http://www.fengshuiweb.co.uk/advice/angpow.htm
The Kitchen God
Chinese mythology tells us the Kitchen god, who was named Zao Jun which loosely translates to “stove master” or Zao Shen which translates “stove god or stove spirit”, is the most significant of all of the Chinese domestic Gods that protect the earth and family. The Kitchen God has always been seen as the protector of the family heart (cooker) and was known in ancient times as the discoverer of fire which of course, is needed for cooking and was also the God of household morals.
Usually, the Kitchen God would leave the home on the 23rd day of the last month to report to heaven on the actions of each family to the other gods. The family would do everything in their power to try and impress the Kitchen God so that he conveyed to heaven with kind words about their family.On the evening of the 23rd, the family would give the Kitchen God a ceremonial goodbye dinner with sweet sticky foods and honey as it was believed that this would bribe although some people believe that the sticky treats would seal his mouth from saying bad things about them.
Once the family was free from the ever-watchful eyes of the Kitchen God, who was supposed to return on the first day of the New Year, the family would now prepare for the forthcoming celebrations linked with Chinese New Year.Gifts given on Chinese New Year are very alike to those given at Christmas time although the Chinese will usually give favours of food such as fruits and tea to others. The last days of the year are also an idyllic time to settle accumulated debts with others and return borrowed things.
Though there are so many tales on how Zao Jun became known as the Kitchen god, the most widespread story dates right back to around the 2nd Century BC. Zao Jun was originally a mortal being who was living on earth and was known by the name of Zhang Lang. He finally became married to an honourable woman and ended up falling in love with a younger woman. Zhang Lang left his wife to be with this younger woman and, as punishment for this adulterous act; the heavens afflicted him with ill-fortune. Zhang Lang became blind and his younger lover abandoned him, leaving him to resort to begging on the streets to support himself.
One day, while begging, Zhang Lang came across the house of his former wife and came face to face with her out on the street but of course, being blind, he did not recognise her. Despite his shoddy treatment of her, she took pity on him, and invited him in; she cooked him a fabulous meal and tended to him lovingly; he then related his story to her. As he shared his story, Zhang Lang became overwhelmed with unhappiness and the pain of his error and began to cry. Upon hearing him apologise, Zhang’s previous wife told him to open his eyes and his vision was returned to him. Recognising the wife he had abandoned, Zhang Lang felt so muchdishonour that he threw himself into the kitchen hearth, not realising that it was lit. His former wife attempted to save him, but all she managed to salvage was one of his legs.
The devoted woman then created a shrine to her past husband above the fireplace, which began Zao Jun’s association with the stove in Chinese homes. To this day, a fire poker is sometimes referred to as “Zhang Lang’s Leg”.
The print out below is the kitchen God with his Consort. You should print this out and place it above your oven or hob, whichever one you use the most. You must renew the print out every Chinese New Year.
Are you really prepared for 2017?
Visit the pages below for further details on 2017 Chinese New Year etc.
Chinese New Year 2017 ** Checklist for Chinese New Year 2017 ** How to make your own Ang Pow **Chinese Talismans for 2017 ** Chinese animal predictions for 2017 ** Flying star Xuan Kong 2017 ** Avoid the fury of the Grand Duke, three killing 2017 ** Chinese New Year world time converter 2017 ** 2017 Cures and enhancers kits ** How to take a compass reading ** How to determine your facing direction ** Feng Shui software ** Feng Shui resource ** 2017 Tong Shu Almanac Software ** Feng Shui Blog ** Chinese culture **