New Year is a very old celebration, a time for repaying debts,
enjoying feasts, giving "red envelopes" of lucky money to
friends and relatives, and remembering ancestors.
There are many ancient and delightful
superstitions surrounding this holiday. This is one of our favorites.
Once upon a time ....
ago, in Han
times, there was a monster whose name was "Nian".
This monster came once each year to a little village and scared
everyone! One day, just by luck, the villagers discovered that "Nian"
had a couple fears of his own. He was
afraid of the color red and even more
afraid of scary loud noises!
villagers prepared. When "Nian" appeared, everyone in the
village ran for the red banners and noise makers they had made. They
waved their banners and rattled their noise makers.
scared "Nian" so much that "Nian" ran away and was
never heard from again!
Which all goes to
explain why people in China believe the
color red signifies joy and luck, and
why noise makers are rattled on Chinese New Year.
firecrackers, paper dragons, noise makers, the waving of red ribbons and
banners all help to drive away any lingering evil spirits from the old
year. (In case "Nian" is still lurking about somewhere!)
Fun & Games for Kids
from PBS: Countdown,
Red Envelope Game,
Clean Sweep Game,
The Story Maker!
Chinese New Year Games
a lucky poster
Animals of the
each day signifies
New Year Superstitions
Ecards & Games
China Units & Lesson Plans
Presentations in PowerPoint format