Chinese New Year is next month, which means it’s also time for annual festivities and traditions. With the earliest written records of China found from 1250BC, and the origin of Chinese New Year dating back to over 3,800 years ago, numerous Chinese folklore has been passed on and told as stories to kids from a young age over the years––oftentimes to teach an important life lesson about family and compassion.
Here, we're listing five Chinese New Year related myths and stories for you to retell to your family and friends over the holidays.
Chinese New Year Origin: Legend of Monster Nian
Ever wondered how and where Chinese New Year originated from? The festival all started when Nian (which means “year” in Chinese), a terrifying sea monster with sharp teeth and horns left his home and went ashore around the time of Chinese new year. The monster would hunt people and eat livestock at nearby villages, causing people to flee their homes and head up to the mountains during this time.
Things finally changed when a god, disguised as a wise old man visited the village. Refusing to hide from the monster, he decided to decorate his house with red papers, create loud crackling noises by burning bamboo, and wearing red clothing and lighting candles to scare away monster Nian. His methods proved successful and Nian never appeared again, thus beginning the Chinese New Year traditions of wearing and decorating with the colour red and lighting firecrackers.