Chinese New Year
Long ago, on a fateful night just as the new year began, a mythical beast called "Nian" emerged from the darkness and onto the land. Nian began hunting people and animals and destroying their homes. It was utter chaos. People had no idea how to protect themselves from the beast. Eventually, they discovered that Nian was afraid of loud noises, fire, and the color red.
So from then on, before New Year's Day, people would post red couplets, which contain blessings and wishes they have for the new year, on the front of their houses. They would also light loud and bright fire crackers and hang lanterns to scare the beast away, just in case he was still around.
Did you know that this story actually tells us the legend of how Chinese New Year began?
Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, is a festival celebrated every year by Chinese communities worldwide—from Hong Kong to London, and Sydney to San Francisco. It is a very important festival to Chinese people because they believe that a good start to the year will lead to a lucky and prosperous year.
Chinese New Year starts on the very first day of the lunar calendar. This day usually falls in January or February. Like a lot of celebrations around the world and in different cultures, there are special traditions that are observed during Chinese New Year.
One of the most obvious traditions is the use of the color red. This is because red represents good fortune and happiness. That is why you'll see lots of red decorations, such as lanterns and couplets hanging around streets, buildings, and in houses as well.
One of the exciting parts of Chinese New Year are all the red envelopes. These envelopes have money inside and are given to children by married adults, which bless them with a peaceful new year. Ooh!
Firecrackers are also set off to sound out the old year and welcome in a better new year. Are they loud?
Chinese New Year is an important time for families to be together. People come home from all around the world to celebrate the festival with their families. On Chinese New Year's eve, families sit together at round tables for a reunion dinner and enjoy a feast. Some foods are extra popular at this time because their names or appearances carry positive symbolic meanings. These foods include dumplings, mandarins, and rice balls. Yum!
During Chinese New Year, you can say, "Xin nian kuai le," "Wan shi ru yi," which means "Happy New Year!" "May all your wishes be fulfilled!"
Everyone celebrates special days in their own way. Different people have different traditions that they enjoy during their festivals, and these are just some of the common ones seen during Chinese New Year.