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January 8, 2020

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Traditional calendars making a revival

Du Xin, 32, picked up a calendar in a bookstore in northern China’s Tianjin. With a crimson and dark green cover and bound by two golden rings, the calendar features many traditional Chinese elements.

“Nowadays, many people don’t use calendars anymore but I think calendars today have become more delicate, interesting and very different from those in the past,” Du said.

Traditionally, calendars have played an important role in Chinese culture.

They provide the lunar dates for guiding agricultural life along with what is suitable to do on each day. Many people use them for selecting auspicious days for weddings, funerals, moving, or starting a business.

However, they had lost popularity, especially among young people as many turn to digital calendars on smartphones.

The new decade has seen the market abound with creative calendars with novel designs and interesting content that have regained popularity among young people.

Du’s calendar is one of them.

Nearly 300,000 such calendars had been sold nationwide by the end of December 2019, according to Wang Lei, shop manager of Sisyphe bookstore in Tianjin.

Apart from displaying dates on each page of the calendar, Du’s calendar pages include a question related to people’s lives or the specific date, as well as an excerpt from a classic book.

For January 24, Chinese New Year’s Eve and a day for family reunions, the question asks: “Have you returned home tonight?”

It is accompanied by an excerpt describing celebrations of the festival from Chinese writer Laoshe.

Zhou Xiaowei, product manager of Sisyphe Calendar, said customers buy the calendar more for its creativity than simply for checking dates. “They want the paper calendar to show their individuality,” she said.

Wang, the shop manager, said apart from buying calendars for themselves, many customers send them as gifts to their family members and friends.

Another creative product, the Owspace Desk Calendar, is marketed as an old calendar for new generations due to its inspirations drawn from traditional calendars.

Like the old calendars, the black-and-white calendar requires people to tear off the date in order to move on to the next.

It was also designed with dos and don’ts but often in an interesting tone, such as “Don’t do nothing today” or “Stop daydreaming.”


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