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The Legend of the Nian Monster

Updated on October 03, 2012

Chinese people held the first New Year festival more than 3,000 years ago. Chinese farmers gave thanks for the harvest and prayed, they asked the gods for good crops in the coming year.

But there is a story behind all the festive celebration, below is the legend of how the Chinese New Year celebration began that has been passed from one generation to another.

According to legend, there was a man-eating wild monster "Nian" with an extremely large mouth, capable of swallowing several people in a single bite. This beast appeared in a country village, towards the end of winter when there was nothing to eat it would visit the villages and attack and eat whatever it could. The villagers would live in terror over the winter.

The next year it returned and the same thing happened. The monster seemed too strong to be defeated. So all the villagers would take their old and young deep into the mountains to hide from Nian.

One day, a wise old man passed through the village and told an old woman, "I will teach you how to scare Nian away!"

That evening when Nian arrived at the village, he saw that all the houses were dark except the house in which an old woman lived. Nian approached the house, licking his lips in anticipation. Suddenly, the deafening noise of firecrackers sounded endlessly.

The monster was startled and jumped. Suddenly he realized that the house was covered in red paper. This scared him even more and it ran off into the mountains. When the villagers returned they saw that the old woman was unharmed! People later learned that "nian" was afraid of loud noises and the color red, The villagers came together and agreed that when it was time for Nian's annual visit towards the end of winter they would start a fire in front of every door and not go to sleep but rather make noise.

The following year, the villagers were ready for it. They set off firecrackers, lit all their lamps and decorated their houses in red, they paste red paper on the doors, wear red clothing, hang up red lanterns. They made loud music, play the gong and drums and they dance and burn the fireworks whenever Nian was about to arrive, to scared away the beast.

Nian had not come down the mountain to cause any trouble thereafter.

This eventually become a tradition of China and leads to the celebration for another year of safe life. Chinese people celebrate in remembrance of this legend and still continues till today!

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    • profile image

      BLAH!!!!! 3 years ago

      BLAH!!!THANKS A LOT!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      Georgia 3 years ago

      Great story using it for a project! :)

    • profile image

      Leigh 5 years ago

      Thanks! Helped me with my project!

    • profile image

      kian 5 years ago

      i like that sory i will remembar it thank you

    • profile image

      Izzathy 8 years ago

      it was a funny story indeed

    • profile image

      Mrs. Edward Cullen 8 years ago

      This is a cool story ...xDD"

      kekeke....i used this for my assessment task....xDD" ~

      Thanks for posting it ^O^

      much <3

    • profile image

      Islam 8 years ago

      It's a coll and funny story i will send it to everyone i know

    • Evelyn Lim profile image

      Evelyn Lim 9 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for posting this story. Somehow it sounds familiar - I must have read about it when I was young.

    • prasadjain profile image

      Dr.S.P.PADMA PRASAD 9 years ago from Tumkur

      A funny story indeed!

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 9 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      most interesting story..while reading it I was thinking of the devil....surprised it was for a safe year to come..G-Ma :O) hugs

    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 9 years ago from Sydney

      I liked that story, I will endeavour to remember it

      Thank you

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