Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year – also known as ‘Lunar New Year’ and ‘Spring Festival’ – is celebrated by Chinese the world over. It is both a cultural and religious holiday that takes place annually.

Mythology of Chinese New Year

As the legend goes, there was a beast known as the Nian that would eat villagers, especially the children. The villagers eventually went into hiding, but one old man decided to stay out that night and get revenge on the Nian. The villagers were sure he was crazy, but he stayed anyway. While the villagers hid, the old man put up red papers and set off firecrackers. By the next day, when the villagers came out, they saw that nothing was destroyed. It turned out the Nian was scared of the colour red, and loud noises as frightened it.

Chinese_new_year_dragon_2014When the New Year came, the villagers wore red clothing, hung red lanterns and scrolls, and used firecrackers. The Nian never again made its way to the village. An ancient Taoist monk – Hongjun Laozu – eventually captured The Nian, and it became the monk’s mount,

The Holiday

In China, as well as other countries and territories that have a large Chinese population, the Chinese New year is a public holiday.

In the days leading up to the new year, homes are given a thorough cleaning. The idea is that all the bad from the preceding year is swept away by cleaning. All debts are paid off before New Year’s Eve, including debts of gratitude.

The Reunion Dinner is the biggest event on New Year’s Eve. Special meats are served at this dinner. Some families will then go to temples to pray for the new year. However, the more modern approach is for households to hold parties.

At midnight fireworks and firecrackers are lit, and the goal is to make a lot of noise in order to scare away the evil spirits.