Invoking good luck through calligraphy is a cultural practice that reflects Vietnamese people’s high regard for scholarship. A word is a spiritual present from the calligrapher, often a Confucian scholar, and conveys New Year wishes to the recipient. The most preferred words symbolize blessing, happiness, longevity, peace, virtue, and prosperity.
“The calligraphers and the recipients should have a profound knowledge of this custom. Both must thoroughly understand the words that are written,” Mr. Nguyen Van Khoi of the Phuong Nam calligraphy club explained.
“I’m asking for parallel sentences as a Tet wish for good health for my teachers,” said Dinh Xuân Lan, a student at the Academy of Journalism and Communication.
In addition to using the traditional brushes, red paper and Chinese ink, calligraphy is now done on other materials such as wood, stone, bamboo and silk. The Confucian scholars include old men in traditional long dress and headgear but also young people and women. Each word embodies the soul, knowledge, and personality of the calligrapher.
“This year I wrote the word ‘smoothness’ as a wish for a smooth year for everyone,” said Mr. Khoi.