The mysterious legends behind the Chinese New Year | Daily News

The mysterious legends behind the Chinese New Year

People around the world said goodbye to 2020 and gathered together to ring in the New Year with joy and happiness. All we hope is a New Year sans fear and tears. But it is not sensible to lose sight of the fact that the whole world is still haunted by the spectre of COVID-19. Therefore, some of the New Year celebrations were muted in the main cities. 

Speaking of New Year festivals in China, there are prominent traditions and customs to be examined. According to the Chinese culture, the first day of January is called Gregorian New Year and the Spring festival which begins on February 12 and ends on 26 is called Lunar New Year. 

The legend behind the Chinese New Year called Xin nian in Mandarin reveals the reason why the new year is celebrated by the Chinese. According to the legend in ancient China, there lived a blood-thirsty monster named Nian which had snatched the lives of people unrelentingly. Therefore, people had to flee to the mountains to save themselves. For a long period, people had to live in fear of this monster. But fortunately, there appeared a saviour who wanted to scare away this monster and bring about peace and harmony in the country. It is said that the ancient Chinese people by pasting red papers on doors, burning bamboo, lighting candles and displaying the colour red, could scare away the monster under the guidance of the saviour. Even today, the Chinese people can be seen doing these activities before the New Year. This is the legend behind the Chinese New Year.  Furthermore, it can be pointed out that there have emerged different New Year activities Such as giving red envelops to the kids, pasting spring couplets and putting up New Year decorations. Giving red envelops to the kids and pasting spring couplets on doors are based on two legends. It is said that in ancient China there lived another demon called Sui and that he touched Children in their sleep at night. Due to the trying situation of the country people did not have peace and reconciliation. According to the legend to avoid children being harmed by the demon the packets of eight coins were placed under the children’s pillows. But now It has become one of the New Year traditions in China. During the New Year, people are found giving children the red envelopes called Yasui qian which means suppressing sui money. Another legend is about the advent of the spring couplets tradition. 

The Spring couplet tradition dates back to 1000 years. It was believed that there was a tree with massive branches on a mountain of the ghost world. According to the legend, there appeared two guards named Shentu and yulei to protect the people from the ghosts. The ancient Chinese people made huge efforts to scare away the ghosts by displaying the pieces of peach wood with the inscription of the two guards’ names. In modern Chinese culture, peach wood was replaced with the red papers which symbolize good luck and happiness.

In addition, the place occupied by the Chinese New Year food in Chinese culture is outstanding. Wine and the dumplings called jiaozi in Mandarine can be regarded as the indispensable food for the Chinese New Year table.