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Auspicious Brush Strokes to Usher in Lunar New Year in Taiwan

A 1 mm long (0.03 inches) miniature resin figurine of a rooster, is seen inside a ring, created by Taiwanese artist Chen Forng-Shean, ahead of Chinese New Year in New Taipei City, Taiwan, Jan, 24, 2017.

Red scrolls with auspicious inscriptions for Lunar New Year celebrations this weekend may be easier and cheaper to buy, but calligraphy enthusiasts in Taiwan are opting to make their own.

The doors of homes and offices are traditionally adorned with the scrolls in the centuries-old belief that they will banish evil spirits and bring good fortune in the coming year.

"During my education, I didn't pay much attention to these kinds of classes," said Chen Ying, 26, a professional photography retoucher attending a scroll-writing workshop in Taiwan's capital of Taipei.

"But the reason I am here is that I suddenly had a yearning, and I felt I should learn about my own culture," Chen added, as she inked an auspicious symbol on a roll of paper.

Calligraphy is restful, said Sun Wei-ting, a participant in a scroll-writing competition in Taoyuan, a city 24 km (15 miles) from Taipei.

"Because I can write very big characters on the paper," said the 11-year-old. "On smaller sheets, I can only write small characters. So, I can empty my mind and relax."

Handwritten scrolls also represent a greater investment of time and effort, with Yu Kuo-ching, a curator at Taiwan's

National Palace Museum, estimating they cost about T$100 ($4) each, or about four times more than printed ones.

The Lunar New Year starts on Saturday, heralding the Year of the Rooster.