A two-metre long decorative dragon made out ganoderma mushroom heads is displayed for sale at a plant nursery in Singapore on Jan 16, 2012 /Foto: www.chinadaily.com.cn/

Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional lunisolar and solar Chinese calendar.

“According to tales and legends, Chinese New Year started with a mythical beast called the Nian (a beast that lives under the sea or in the mountains) during the annual Spring Festival. The Nian would eat villagers, especially children in the middle of the night.

One year, all the villagers decided to hide from the beast. An older man appeared before the villagers went into hiding and said that he would stay the night and would get revenge on the Nian. The old man put red papers up and set off firecrackers. The day after, the villagers came back to their town and saw that nothing had been destroyed. They assumed that the old man was a deity (God), who came to save them. The villagers then understood that Yanhuang had discovered that the Nian was afraid of the color red and loud noises.

Then the tradition grew when New Year was approaching, and the villagers would wear red clothes, hang red lanterns, and red spring scrolls on windows and doors and used firecrackers and drums to frighten away the Nian. From then on, Nian never came to the village again.” (Wikipedia)

Each Lunar year is represented by a cycle of 12 zodiac animals. This year is the Year of the Tiger.

The tiger is commonly associated with something like bravery, courage and strength.


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