in Chinese means ‘year’. This is a popular legend on
how Chinese come to celebrate Lunar New Year...
ago in ancient China, people lived in fear everyday. There
were all kinds of monster-beasts on the mountains. These
beasts not only feed on one another, but also bold enough
to descend from the mountains and prey on live stock and
was the king of these monsters. It especially loved the
taste of human beings. Every household of the village lost
at least a family member into its stomach. Not a single
day passed without a funeral. The villagers were helpless.
People started to leave, first one by one then family by
family. It seemed that the village would become a ghost
village before long.
day, a forlorn-looking old man suddenly appeared among the
villagers. Nobody paid him any attention. Perceiving the
mourning look everybody had, and the obvious aging
population, the old man made some enquiries. On learning
the cause, he offered to subdue Nian and headed straight
into the mountains, paying no heed to the warnings of the
found Nian having its nap before heading to the village
for its dinner. Nian awoke amid shouts from the old man,
who dared it to hunt other species of beasts. This it
promptly did. The inhabitants of monster-beasts reduced
drastically, being either eaten or had the sense to take
flight before Nian could get its claws on its game.
only left Nian and the old man. Nian turned hungrily to
the old man……..
came. The villagers were expecting Nian to turn up at this
time of the day, wondering which household would lose
another family member, who would be the unlucky sacrifice.
they saw a meek Nian by the side of the old man, behaving
for all the world like a master’s favourite pet.
secret was revealed. Nian was frightened of anything in
red, be it lifeless things like paper and cloth. The old
man was actually an immortal who took pity on the
villagers, and tamed Nian with his wisdom. Nian
disappeared with the old man in a whiff. Both were not
seen again ever.
grand celebration was held. Villagers congratulated one
another on a new beginning of life. Food was prepared,
songs sang, dance danced, and firecrackers fired.
Villagers put on bright red new attire, decorations were
put up in red; people accredited red as a symbol of good
fortune and fighting off evils. Celebrations lasted
fifteen days. From then on, this tradition was passed on
generation to generation.