is a legend about the origin of
"year". In ancient times, our
ancestors were subject to the threat of a
most ferocious animal called 'Nian' (year),
which lived on various kinds of animals. In
winter where food was scarce in the
mountains, 'Nian' would intrude the villages
to eat human beings and beasts of burden.
People were frightened and on tenterhooks.
People fought against Nian for many years,
and they found Nian was afraid of three
things: red color, fire and sound.
Therefore, in winter people hung a piece of
red peach wood at the door, lighted a pile
of fire at the gate, beat gongs and drums
heavily to make a loud sound, without
sleeping throughout the night. One night
Nian intruded into the village again and saw
the red color and fire at every door and
heard a thunderous sound. It was frightened
and retreated to the mountains. From then on
it dare not come out again. After the night
was over, people gave congratulations to
each other. They put up red lanterns and
drank liquor and wine at feasts to celebrate
celebrate the great victory people of every
family would paste red paper couplets on the
door panels, light red lanterns, beat gongs
and drums, let off fireworks and
firecrackers all through the night. Early
next morning they would greet each other
happily. Generation after generation, the
day of Spring Festival came into being.