Happy Chinese New Year of the Rooster

Tomorrow starts the Year of the Rooster. If you’ve ever been to China, you might have noticed red paper strips with couplets (对联) and red signs with the Chinese character for happiness (福) are brought up on the doors of many homes. And, quite often, the characters are upside down. I have learned years ago that putting the characters upside down is a word play – if you say “fu (happiness) is upside down (福倒了)” in Chinese, it sounds like “happiness has arrived (福到了)”. But I learned something new today from my husband: You should only put the sign upside down if it is brought up on a window facing water, e.g. a well. I’m not sure why that is. If you are wondering about one legend behind Spring Festival and how 6 Western women who are married to Chinese men celebrate, check out this collaborative post on WWAM Bam!:

Once every year, a hungry monster called Nian (年) would make its way from the depths of the sea, where it lives, to a nearby village, eating people and livestock on its way. People were living in fear of this monster that had the head of a lion and the body of a bull. While all villagers went into hiding in the nearby mountains one year, an old beggar passing by the village stayed to fight against the monster…

To me, celebrating the arrival of spring is a welcome festivity up here in Northeast China, where it will still be cold for a few more months to come – like I have written in this post on Beijing Kids:

I vividly remember when my brother visited us in May 2015. We drove all the way to the North Korean border near Ji’an, a mere 5-hour drive through plains and mountain roads. Driving down a road next to the Yalu River, we could see North Koreans on the other side of the bank, some washing clothes, some taking a bath, others walking home. The trees had barely grown new leaves yet. Snow had melted, but it was still cold and the pictures we took all looked grey.

If you want to learn more about Chinese New Year, check out the linked articles. The monkey will make place for the rooster at midnight tonight, here’s to a Happy New Year of the Rooster!

Do you celebrate Spring Festival?


Hi, I'm Ruth, welcome to China Elevator Stories! I have been living in Kunming and Shenzhen in the past and am now staying in Northeast China with my Chinese husband and our baby and toddler son. Join us on our journey bridging worlds!


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