spring couplets, a chinese new year decoration, are an integral part of china's new year. their beginnings go back as far as the origins of new year's festivities.
according to legends in the china's ancient past there was a monster known as nian who often came down from the mountains to eat livestock and locals. it was discovered that he was afraid of the color red and so red paper was placed around doors and windows of houses and poems for good luck were added to them. the houses with the red paper were avoided by the monster, so its inhabitants were spared. the tradition has continued until today.
couplets are traditionally painted with black ink on two pieces of red paper which is then hung on either side of a door.