The Lunar New Year is laden with traditional customs and superstitions. One, still hugely popular, is to hang the Chinese character fu (fortune) upside down on prominent places - such as the front door to one's home. It works as a pun and is meant to prompt visitors to comment: 'Your fu is upside down.' As 'upside down' in Chinese sounds like 'arrive' (), the comment doubles as, 'Fortune arrives [at your home]' - a New Year greeting to the household. Now the practice has been criticised by one of China's most accomplished writers and painters. Feng Jicai, also the country's leading advocate of folk art, says it shows ignorance of China's traditional culture. 'The door is the entrance to the household. It's where good fortune can be invited into the house,' Xinhua quoted the 66-year-old vice-president of the China Federation of Literature and Art as saying. 'In our culture it's a solemn place of acceptance that needs to be respected. An upside-down posting of fu on the front door is unnecessary, vulgar and irreverent.' Feng suggests that if you really love the practice, try hanging the upside-down character on a cabinet, because a container with many drawers can lock good luck inside. Other appropriate spots include the water tank and rubbish bin. 'You don't want to sweep away your good fortune by emptying out those containers, so an upside-down fu is a nice compensation,' he said. But with the Year of the Rat just a day away, not too many revellers appreciate Feng's critique. Several people in the mainland's leading chat rooms said the campaigner for the preservation of China's cultural heritage needed to lighten up. 'He doesn't have a sense of humour,' said one posting on sina. com. 'It works like some households in the US putting up a stop sign ... hoping to intercept Santa for his gifts. It's harmless and fun.' But there is another reason to keep fu the right way up. The word 'upside down' also sounds like the verb 'empty' (), so you could be pouring good fortune away by inverting the character on your front door.