World News

Lunar New Year: Dragon is here, but why wear red, light firecrackers, what’s the myth of Nian?

Chinese New Year celebrations with dragon. — Voa News/File
Chinese New Year celebrations with dragon. — Voa News/File

Asian communities all around the globe are celebrating Lunar New Year on February 10 with family gatherings, fireworks, and festivals, VOA News reported.

Often called the Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival, it is a day of festivity and happiness. It is a multi-day celebration in many Asian countries.

The day is also marked with countless folk tales adding to its mystery and charm.

It has different names in different societies, such as Tet in Vietnam and Seollal in Korea, among others.

2024 is the year of the dragon in Chinese zodiac signs. A central figure in Chinese culture, the dragon represents vigour, strength, and good fortune, among other powerful attributes.

The lunar new year is symbolised by the zodiac animal changing to signify the next year.

The festivities begin with the lunar calendar’s first new moon and end on the first full moon, fifteen days later. Since the lunar calendar is based on lunar cycles, the holiday’s dates fluctuate yearly, falling anywhere between the middle of January and the end of February.

Lunar New Year celebrations. — Time Out/File
Lunar New Year celebrations. — Time Out/File

What are some beliefs and traditions around the Lunar New Year?

The day is marked with several folk tales, but the legendary myth of “Nian” stands out as one of the most intriguing.

According to the legend, Nian was a ferocious underwater beast with horns and sharp teeth. Every New Year, he would come out of the water onto the land and attack a nearby village.

On one occasion, as the day came about, all the villagers rushed into hiding, but one old man insisted on staying outside.

To the villager’s surprise, the old man and the village survived utterly unscathed.

The man was able to fend off the beast by scaring him away with red clothing and lanterns. Lighting firecrackers.

This is why wearing the fiery colour, along with hanging red banners and lighting fireworks, are Lunar New Year traditions, all of which are still followed today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *