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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

THE NIAN: THE CHINESE TALE AND MYTH

Legend of Nian

According to Chinese tales and legends, the beginning of year starts with the fight against a mythical beast called Nian, who is been described to have the body of a bull and the head of a lion.  According to the Chinese tale, It is  said to be a ferocious animal who lived in the mountains and hunts for a living. Through the end of the winter, when there is shortage of food, the Nian comes during the beginning of the year to eat livestocks, vegetations, and even the villagers including children too. In order to protect  themselves and prevent this from happening, the villagers at the beginning of the year, placed foods at their door step. It was believed that after the Nian ate this food been prepared by this villagers, it won't attack them. It is also believed that the ferocious Nian was afraid of three things: the colour red, fire, and noise.  So when they discover that the new year is approaching, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors.

  They also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, Nian never came to the village again.  According to Myth, the Nian was eventually captured by Hongjun Laozu, an ancient Taoist monk, thereby making Nian become Hongjun Laozu's mount. After Nian was captured, everyone had a big celebration and the ritual involved in banishing him was repeated the following year, and so this rituals were been passed down from generation to generation and the custom of celebrating New Year with firecrackers, noise, and the colour red has persisted even till this day.

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