Chinese New Year - Yuán rì (元日)

By Wang Anshi (王安石)





Bào zhú shēng zhōng yī suì chú,

Chūn fēng sòng nuǎn rù tú sū.

Qiān mén wàn hù tóng tóng rì,

zǒng bǎ xīn táo huàn jiù fú.

The old year has passed in the sound of firecrackers, and the Tu Su wine is enjoyed with a warm spring breeze.
The rising sun shines on thousands of households,

and the old peach symbols are removed and replaced with new peach symbols.

About the Poet

Wang Anshi (1021 – 1086) is a poet and calligrapher amongst being a notable chancellor in the North Song Dynasty who implemented notorious and controversial reforms known as the new policies.

About the Poem

A classic and seminal Chinese poem about the most important time on the Chinese calendar, it exquisitely captures the Spring Festival and the passing of time from the previous year to the new with optimism and spirit. As firecrackers signal the end of the year and the imminent arrival of Spring, warm weather and the sun brings hope. Wang also includes two specific details that give us great cultural insight. Firstly referring to the enjoyment of Tu Su wine, a medical liquor mixed with Chinese herbs which is used to protect from the winter chill and winter plague. Secondly removing the old peach symbols and replacing with the new ones. These peach symbols are images or names of door Gods designed from the wood of peach trees, usually hung on gates or displayed on doors to ward off evil spirits. Overall Wang enthuses his poem metaphorically with his genuine belief that his new reforms will bring fresh and positive impetus to the country.

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