With another winter storm on the way, I thought I’d give you a fun snow-day project — Chinese paper cuts!
I learned to make these in Chinese school just before the Lunar New Year, which started with the new moon on January 31. People in China like to decorate their windows and doors with red paper cut-outs at New Year’s to invite luck into their homes.
2. Using a pencil or pen, draw the red lines above on your paper.
3. Cut along the red lines. (The blue parts above are the discarded pieces.)
4. Unfold, and it will look like this:This is the character, shuangxi, which means “double happiness.” The character xi means happiness or joy, and when it’s written twice, side-by-side, it’s twice the happiness. Chinese is very logical. The symbol is used during New Year celebrations and weddings.
If it’s a really good storm, you’ll want to go outside and scream your head off and slide around, not stay inside making a million little cuts in a little piece of paper!
2. Fold the top half in half, then fold it in half again. Keep the top quarter folded down.
3. Cut a rounded corner in the top left (see above).
Disregard the above instructions. I had to do it over (and over) until I unfolded it, and it looked like this:Uh, how do I explain how I got here? I don’t exactly know. But you gotta fold the paper so that all these creases show. Then you cut the corner :).
Then you fold the right side under like this:If I’ve just lost you, I’m SORRRRY!!! That’s the problem with cut-outs. They were meant for people who had nothing to do in ancient China but sit for a thousand years along the Great Wall and be on the lookout for scary barbarian invaders who couldn’t come until the snow melted. When you try to do an ancient snow-day project nowadays, it just makes you want to SCREAM, doesn’t it? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!!
Okay, now take a deep breath like in yoga — and fold the bottom half up, then draw a triangle with your pen above the bottom fold and along the vertical crease like this: Then you snip out the little triangle.
Time to work on the left side.
Written, it looks like this:
Here’s the character dao:
So there you have it. A snow-day project from ancient China when it really snowed. It’s especially appropriate since Lunar New Year celebrations will continue until the full-moon on February 14.
Speaking of really snowing, here’s the character for snow, xue:
The top part is the character, yu, “rain.” And the bottom is used in characters for broom and sweeping. So snow is rain that can be swept. Isn’t that cool?
If only I knew how to cut that. Then we would hang it upside-down from all our doors and have a really fantastic, buried-to-the-rooftop snow day!!!
Hope we have one anyway!