Chinese New Year, or Spring festival is the most important event of the year socially and economically for China. Chinese New Year originated from the solar-lunar Chinese calendar, but more recently it has become a year to celebrate and honour household and spiritual deities and ancestors. Chinese New year is also a time for feasting and bringing families together.
This is the legend of how Chinese New Year came to be celebrated:
Legend says, long ago, there was a monster called Nian. It was born to ugly and ferocious. On the first and the 15th of each lunar month, the monster would come down from the mountains to hunt people. The people of the village were very much afraid of it and locked their doors early before sunset on the days of its coming.
There lived an old wise man in the village. He believed it was the panic in people that made the monster so bold and furious. Thus the old man asked people to organise together and to conquer the monster by means of beating drums and gongs, burning bamboo, and lighting fireworks in purpose of making large noises to threaten the hateful monster. The old man also told the villagers to hang cloth of red to scare the beast. When he told people about the idea, everybody agreed on it.
At a moonless and freezing cold night, the monster, Nian, appeared again. The moment it opened its mouth, frightening noises, and fire were let loose, and wherever the monster went, it was forced to back off with fear. The monster couldn’t stop running until he fell down with exhaustion. Then people jumped up and killed the evil monster. Savage as the monster was, he lost in the end under the efforts from the cooperation of people. People hundreds of years from now would celebrate the day the beast was overcome.
Chinese New Year is one of the oldest celebrations in china, and as such there are many traditions people carry out every year. Fireworks are lit, drums are played, calligraphy hangings are hung form doors and red lanterns are released in their thousands. Often the owners of the lanterns will write their wish for that year on the red fabric for the wish to be granted. Children are given red decorated envelopes with money inside from their family and traditional food is served for the whole 15 days of the festival.
Every New Year is a new year for a certain zodiac animal, the year of 2014 was the year of the horse, but Chinese New Year 2015 will be the year of the sheep, more specifically the year of the green water sheep. It is said that to be born in the year of the sheep will mean you will be a very calm and artistic person.