Thursday, January 20, 2005

The story of "Nian"

The Spring Festival is the grandest festival for the Chinese.
The Spring Festival is also called "Nian", but who knows the term, Nian, was once the name of a furious monster that lived on human beings in the ancient time. How the Festival has some relationship with the monster lies in a story ???
wanna know more???
then, read on....

long ago, there was a monster which looked like either dragons or unicorns, called Nian. It was born to be very ugly and ferocious. On the first and the 15th of each lunar month, the monster would come down from the mountains to hunt people. So people were afraid of it and locked their doors early before sunset.

There lived an old wise man in a village. He thought it was the panic of people that made the monster so bold and furious. Thus the old man asked people to get together and to fight the monster by beating drums and gongs, burning bamboo, and lighting fireworks in purpose of making large noises to threaten the monster. 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 at people, burst out the frightening noises and fire made by people, and wherever the monster went, it was forced to back off by the terrible noises. 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.

Since then, people have kept the tradition by beating drums and gongs, and lighting fireworks at the coldest day in winter to drive the imagined monsters away and to celebrate the victory over it. Today, Nian refers to the New Year's day or the Spring Festival. People often say Guo Nian, which means 'live the festival.' Furthermore, Nian also means the year. For an example, the Chinese often greet each other by saying Xin Nian Hao, which means Happy New Year! Xin means new and Hao means good.
got it????