Day: January 31, 2013

20) A story of Lunar New Year – Nian (年)

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By courtesy of wikipedia.com
By courtesy of wikipedia.com

The mythology side of Lunar New Year was originated from a monster ‘nian’ (meaning ‘year’).  The beast had a head like a lion and a body like a bull.  It lives in deep sea for the whole season.

Every spring around the lunar month or Chinese New Year it will come ashore to destroy farms and attack humans.  Villagers were helpless.  They discussed how to make the ‘nian’ stay away from them and leave them in peace.  So they started hanging red cloths and lighted red lanterns, pasting red couplet outside the houses in the hope to deter this ferocious animal.  Whenever, the animal appeared, the villagers make loud noises with drums and gongs, chopping vegetables /meats loudly and ignite fireworks to subdue the beast.  Somehow, ‘nian’ was back off by these intimidations.  It left the village and never returned again.

nian animal(www.keichun.edu.hk)
By courtesy of http://www.keichun.edu.hk

Thus, the villagers realized that loud sound, the color of red, bright lights and fireworks etc were effective deterants to ‘nian’.

Since then, people have kept the tradition alive by beating drums and gongs on streets, and lighting fireworks to drive the beast away during the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival.  They wish each other ‘Gong Xi” for a new life of survivor, this is the mythology of how the Lunar New Year come about.

nian animal 01

nian animal 03

nian animal 02

The three scarlet friends humming along in their harmony home.

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