The Department of Cultural Affairs organized an event for writing Chinese calligraphy to usher in the Lunar New Year. On New Year’s Day this year, the three cities of Paris, Brussels, and New York were linked to Taipei, with people in Taiwan and abroad who love Chinese characters being invited to pick up their calligraphy brushes and write down their New Year’s wishes.
The first part of the Eighth Chinese Character Festival included writing calligraphy for the new lunar year. This year was the first time the event was held at Zhongshan Hall. Renowned calligraphers Tu Chong-kao, Chang Ping-huang, and famous lyricist Fang Wen-shan were all invited to write calligraphy. At a press conference held on New Year’s Eve, calligrapher Chang Ping-huang wrote a couplet that read, “Writing calligraphy on New Year’s Day in the 101st year of the Republic of China. Everyone come write Chinese characters in the new spring,” inviting people to participate in the event.
The host of the event said that in order to encourage people to write calligraphy, those who signed up for the event would receive a “bag of joy” filled with what is traditionally called “the four treasures of the study,” or wen fang si bao, as well as a card for writing wishes and a postcard. People could write their wishes on their wish cards and then hang them on the “wish tree.” There was also a temporary post office set up for participants to mail postcards with their wishes written on them free of charge.
The number of people originally allowed to register for the event was 1500, but since so many people were eager to sign up they allowed another 500 people. The Department of Cultural Affairs said they used engraving artist Lin Ren-hsin’s commemorative postage stamp at the temporary post office. People who did not sign up for the event were also allowed to mail letters to keep as souvenirs.
The Department of Cultural Affairs also held a global event for writing Chinese characters, which included students from a Chinese language school in Paris, as well as the Sun Yat-sen Elementary School and the Yu Yi Chinese Institute in Brussels. Local residents studying Chinese were invited to pick up their brushes and write New Year’s wishes in Chinese calligraphy, and then take pictures of themselves with their Chinese characters. After writing how they felt about the event, they were then asked to upload the pictures on the event website. By linking cities across the globe, the joy that was felt in Taipei could be transmitted to other countries all over the world, making wishes together for the New Year. The event’s official website is ccf.culture.gov.tw.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)