Spring Festival swarms with legends. Behind each convention, there is an interesting story. Here we go some of them, which may help you understand Spring Festival better.

Legend of Monster Nian

Why do the Chinese celebrate Spring Festival? Why do they call Spring Festival Xin Nian (新年) or Guo Nian (过年) ? The story goes that in ancient China there was a monster: Nian, with horns on its head. Nian lived most of the time in deep sea and only went ashore on Chinese New Year Eve in search for food. Nian was rather fierce. It often swallowed the livestock and hurt the villagers. Thus people escaped to mountains annually on Chinese New Year Eve to avoid the monster. And this year, when the residents of Peach-blossom Village were just about to run away as usual, there came an old beggar. Everybody was busy with packaging, so no one tended to attend him except an old lady living in the east of the village. The kind-hearted lady gave some food to the beggar and advised him to run away to the mountain as soon as possible. At her advice, the old beggar smiled and told her that if she allowed him to spend the night in her home, he would beat off the monster: Nian. But the old lady didn’t believe him. She tried in vain to persuade the beggar. At last she went to the mountain together with the villagers, leaving the beggar alone.

At midnight, Nian broke into the village only to find that the village was different from usual. In the east end of the village, there is a house with red paper on its doors, bright candlelight inside. The sight enraged the Monster Nian. It rushed towards the house fiercely. Suddenly, there came consecutive loud bangs, which stopped the monster and made it tremble with fear. At that moment, the door opened and the beggar in a red robe came out. The monster was so terrified that it fled hastily. The next day, when the villagers came back, they were surprised to find that the villager was in good condition. The old lady suddenly realized the beggar was a god. She told the villagers about this. The villagers went to the old lady’s house. They finally understood that the monster was afraid of red, light, and bangs. The joyful villagers celebrated for expelling Nian. And people in the surrounding villages later heard of the news and all knew how to keep off the monster. From then on, people decorated the house with red things, set off firecrackers, lit up the house and stayed up on the Chinese New Year Eve to avoid the Monster Nian.

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