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Calligraphy Markets in Spring


 In the minds of the Vietnamese people, New Year is an occasion to express their wishes. The calligraphy market, where old scholars write calligraphic scripts with a Chinese brush and ink, has become a typical cultural feature of Vietnamese people during Tet..

For many generations the Vietnamese people have the custom of buying scripts and couplets written by scholars to hang at home during Tet. In the old days when Confucianism prospered, old people liked to hang the couplets on the walls in the house during Tet. At the year-end markets in the rural areas there were several scholars who wrote scripts on red paper and displayed them at their market stall. In the cities, especially in Hanoi’s old quarter there are always scholars sitting on the sidewalk writing scripts with a Chinese brush and ink.

Visiting this calligraphy market, people want to have a calligraphic painting to bring home, hoping that their wish will become true. Children who wish their grand parents and parents to be healthy will ask for the scripts “longevity” or “good health”. Scripts such as “Happiness”, “Luck”, “Prosperity”, “Enduringness” and “Kindness” are also much sought after. Nowadays, in Hanoi the calligraphy market is mainly held in Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature – The first University of Vietnam). The calligraphy market has become a fine cultural feature and a refined pastime of the Vietnamese people.

(Source: Vietnam Pictorial)


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