January 30, 2011

Chinese New Year

This year the start of the Chinese New Year takes place on Feb. 3. Which also happens to be the day before my birthday. This past weekend my mom was visiting to celebrate my Aunt's 50th birthday, my other Aunt birthday, and my own. We made a stop by Jungle Jim's is just an insane amount of any thing you'd ever need, which happens to include super cheap, super big bags of Fortune Cookies:

Needless to say, I am well prepared to help those at work celebrate. This is all in good fun, and I should preface this with I am not of Asian decent. However it does have a pretty interesting history, and I am fully FOR learning new things about everyone. So below is some neat mythology I picked up on Wikipedia (forewarning: my dad fully believes that Wikipedia does not necessarily make things true or accurate, however it's a quick reference and typically well moderated, in my opinion).

According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nien (Chinese: ; pinyin: nián). Nien would come on the first day of New Year to devour livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nien ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nien was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nien was afraid of the colour red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nien. From then on, Nien never came to the village again. The Nien was eventually captured by Hongjun Laozu, an ancient Taoist monk. The Nien became Hongjun Laozu's mount.[5]

I highly recommend reading further to understand all the festivities and background. HERE Enjoy!

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