The whole family pose with Spring Festival couplets written by the younger Zhang Chao at their home in Jiaohe city, Northeast China's Jilin province, Jan 24, 2017. (Photo by Jin Dan/chinadaily.com.cn)
When the brush pen in his hand gently moved to the end of the last stroke of the Chinese character "Chun" meaning spring, the blue veins on his forehead became less visible and his jaw loosened a bit as a grin spread across his boyish and confident face.
Satisfied with his final stroke, he handed the complete work of Chinese calligraphy couplets to his elder twin brother - who had the same innocent but a bit shy look.
"Let my big brother, who came up with what the couplets should read, interpret it," said the younger one.
Pasting couplets on the door of one's home is one of the most important Chinese New Year customs in the country. For the 24-year-old twins from Jiaohe, a county-level city in Northeast China's Jilin province, making their own couplets instead of buying printed ones is a family tradition that has been maintained for six years.
The twin surnamed Zhang, whose given names are, respectively, Chao and Yue, together meaning "becoming outstanding" in Chinese, are fans of Chinese traditional culture; and, they both are postgraduates of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
"The couplets convey our best wishes both for motherland and our own family. On the one hand, they send a message that we appreciate the prosperity of today's China; and on the other hand, harmony within our family is praised as one character from each of my parents' names are respectively arranged in the left roll and right roll of the couplets," said the elder brother Zhang Chao.
The younger is always cheerful while the elder is more considerate, always ready to help his mother whenever she is with him.