Chinese Character Chun - Spring

Meaning: Spring
Sound: [chūn]

When the Chinese character for "spring" was first created over three thousand years ago, it was drawn with two parts. The main part of the pictograph shows growing grass while the lower right part depicts the sun. This is the scene of te flourishing field under the sun and denotes the time of the year when growth starts. Over time the shape of the word was altered but slightly, and one can still easily see the connection between the ancient form and the character as it exists today. 

The character 春 is pronounced [chūn].

Chūn Jié, "Spring Festival," is the Chinese New Year Day, which is the most important holiday for the Chinese people. It is a time to celebrate the renewal of life and an occasion for family members to get together. Chūn Jié is an official holiday in China, when people get seven days off from work Hundreds of millions of people journey across the country to visit love ones, making the season the busiest travel time in China. There is actually a term for this sudden increase in traffic - Chūnyùn, "Spring [Festival] Transportation." The precise date of the Spring Festival is calculated based on the Chinese lunisolar calendar, so it varies slightly from year to year. Generally the date falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice, in late January or early February. 

Chūn lián, "Spring Couplet," is one of the ways in which the Chinese celebrate the Spring festival. The "couplet" refers to two lines of poetry written on two strips of red paper, to be pasted on the two sides of the entrance to a house. Usually there is a third piece that is placed above the door horizontally, with four characters that sums up or enhances the felicitations expressed in the couplet. For example, a spring couplet could be something like the following. On the left of the door: "Mountains green, rivers singing, nature is beautiful." On the right side of the door: "Seniors stately, youngsters joyous, family is healthy." Above the door: "A harmonious world." The characters are done with the traditional writing brush, and good calligraphy is a big part of the ritual. In a village, around the time of Chūn Jié, someone who can write well is much in demand to provide the community with chūn lián.   

Since 春 stands for renewal and growth, it also suggests the relationship between the sexes.  Chūn xīn, "spring heart," means longings for love. Shào nǚ huái chūn, "young girl bosoming spring" describes a girl with burgeoning love for man.