Chinese New Year History

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Chinese New Year is just a month away. I will be posting more about Chinese New Year to get all in the mood to celebrate the Year of the Fire Pig.

The Chinese New Year Festival is the most significant holiday for Chinese people around the world, regardless of the origin of their ancestors. It is also known as the Lunar New Year Festival because it is based on the lunar calendar as opposed to the Gregorian calendar. The holiday is a very jubilant occasion mainly because it is the time when people take a break from work to get together with family and friends.

The origin of the Chinese New Year Festival can be traced back thousands of years through a continually evolving series of colorful legends and traditions. One of the most famous legends is that of Nien, an extremely cruel and ferocious beast, which the Chinese believe, eats people on New Year's Eve. To keep Nien away, red-paper couplets are pasted on doors, torches are lit, and firecrackers are set off throughout the night, because Nien is said to fear the color red, the light of fire, and loud noises. Early the next morning, as feelings of triumph and renewal fill the air at successfully keeping Nien away for another year, the most popular greeting heard is kung-hsi, or "congratulations."

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