Spring Welcoming Message(立春祝)
Ipchunchuk (Kor. 입춘축, Chin. 立春祝, lit. welcoming the beginning of spring) or chunchuk (Kor. 춘축, Chin. 春祝, lit. spring welcoming) are verses written to celebrate the arrival of spring on the day of Ipchun (Kor. 입춘, Chin. 立春, Beginning of Spring). Ipchun is the gateway to spring, and in the past Koreans customarily wrote verses expressing their wishes and concerns for the season and year ahead. Ipchunchuk were posted on the gate, doorposts, or pillars of one’s house. This meaning is reflected in other names for spring welcoming messages such as ipchuncheop (Kor. 입춘첩, Chin. 立春帖), chuncheop (Kor. 춘첩, Chin. 春帖), chuncheopja (Kor 춘첩자, Chin. 春帖子), ipchunbang (Kor. 입춘방, Chin. 立春榜), ” chunbang (Kor. 춘방, Chin. 春榜), muncheop (Kor. 문첩, Chin. 門帖), chullyeon (Kor. 춘련, Chin. 春聯), daeryeon (Kor. 대련, Chin. 對聯), or mundae (Kor. 문대, Chin. 門對).
Ipchun occurs at a time when the Ecliptic rises at 45 degrees above the horizon to pass a point called ipchunjeom (Kor. 입춘점, Chin. 立春帖). As Ipchun is also the first of the twenty-four solar terms, this day is considered the true beginning of the new year. Hence, posting ipchunchuk had the symbolic meaning of doing away with the bad fortunes of the previous year while simultaneously ushering in a new year. The messages posted in the royal palace of the Joseon period (1392-1910) were referred to as chuncheopja and contained verses written for this occasion by government officials. Upper-class families often imitated the custom of the royal court by by posting ancient poetry classics or newly-composed poems in praise of spring in their houses. Some families had their ipchunchuk written by renowned calligraphers and attached the notes to the pillars outside the house gate. The tradition is still maintained in a simplified form in some households in modern Korea. People check the time of Ipchun in the seasonal almanacs and display the ipchunchuk with standard phrases like “Ipchun daegil geonyang dagyeong (Kor. 입춘대길 건양다경, Chin. 立春大吉 建陽多慶, lit. the new spring shall bring great luck, vigor and good fortune)” on the doors or inside their houses.