This legend is still prevalent in rural China. A ferocious beast named Nian used to torment innocent people by attacking them once a year. With his extremely large mouth, he devoured several humans in a single bite. With passing of time, poor people of the region learnt that the beast was afraid of 3 things: fireworks, the color red and bright lights.
Finally, the day of his arrival came. The villagers decorated their households with red scrolls, lanterns and fireworks.
These scarified the beast and he ran away never to be seen again. That day came to be known as “Chinese New Year”. In reality, 2000 years back, the New Year’s festivities evolved from the people’s desire to rejoice the end of winter and arrival of the spring, alike the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia. Today, Chinese New New Year is all about family reunions and wishing good fortune in the coming year.
The Ancient Chinese Calendar was a complex astronomical record. It was designed according to the lunar as well as the solar solstices and equinoxes. 12 zodiacal animals were selected to symbolize the 12-year cycle starting with rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
This arrangement cycles every 60 years. It is believed that Chinese people adapt the traits of the zodical animal of the year they were born in. Going ahead with the ancient Chinese Astrology, 2014 is going to be “Year of the Horse” – which starts from January 31, 2014!
Before the starting of the New Year, people get busy to spring clean their houses and sweep away signs of bad luck. On New Year’s Eve, all dustpan, brooms, and brushes are hidden away so that good luck is not mistakenly swept away. Houses and offices are decorated with paper scrolls