New Taipei City releases Year of the Dog couplets

New tricks: New Taipei City announces newly designed spring festival couplets for the Year of the Dog


Spring festival couplets. (New Taipei City Government)

TAIWAN (Taiwan News) -- In order to celebrate the coming Year of the Dog on the lunisolar calendar, New Taipei City has released a series of spring festival couplets (春聯). 

Legend has it that there is a ferocious beast called "Nian" (年獸), which comes down from the mountains at this time of year and wreaks havoc. Fortunately, its Kryptonite is the color red, so placing red-colored couplets around the door as well as the door gods will keep Nian away.

(New Taipei City Government image)

The New Taipei City will feature three slogans in calligraphy that are a play on words with the character 旺 (wang), which in Mandarin phonetically imitates the sound of a dog barking, but also means prosperity. The three slogans include: "Great Prosperity" (大旺), "Gold Prosperity" (金旺), and "Long Prosperity" (長旺).

(New Taipei City Government image)

This year's couplets have been coated with water repellent, so though they are more expensive than the average couplet, they will last much longer. 

(New Taipei City Government image)

In addition to the traditional style suitable for sticking on the sides of doorways, new designs are being issued to appeal to young people and businesses. Designs include a square-shaped couplet saying "Dog Brings Prosperity" (狗來旺), which has a dogs forming the shape of the character for prosperity. 

(New Taipei City Government image)

There is also ring cell phone stands that come in the same pattern and a lucky drawing will be held on the New Taipei City Facebook page "My New Taipei City" (我的新北市).

The couplets will be available from Jan. 15 in the city's 29 district offices and other designated places.