New Year started many thousands of years ago. It is still celebrated
today. It is a time for enjoying family and friends, for remembering
ancestors, for feasting, and for giving gifts of "red
envelopes" of lucky money. There are many ancient customs and
stories that surround Chinese New Year. This is one of our
Once upon a time ....
A long time ago, there was a monster named Nian.
Nian loved to visit a little village in China each year, and scare
everybody he saw. He thought that was great fun. He liked to do this
just as the new year began, to remind people that Nian was still around.
Each year, after scaring all the people, could hardly wait
for the new year to roll around, so that he could scare them again.
probably would have gone on forever. But one day, just by luck, one of
the villagers was wearing a red tunic. When Nian jumped out to scare
him, Nian took one look at the red tunic and ran away. He startled the
villager so much that the villager dropped the heavy metal bucket he had
been carrying. The bucket bounced down the hill behind Nian, hitting
every rock in its path. It made a horrible noise. Nian looked fearfully
over his shoulder, and began running even faster.
villager told everyone of his fabulous luck. His red tunic had scared
Nian. And the noise of the bucket had sent him running away. This was
good news. All year long, the villagers prepared. When Nian appeared the
following year, everyone in the village ran for the red banners and the
loud rattles they had made. They shook their rattles and waved their
banners. And Nian ran away. The villagers never saw him again.
That's why people in China believe the
color red signifies luck, and why all the children and many adults shake
rattles and light firecrackers and make all kinds of noise on Chinese
New Year's eve. It's to scare away evil spirits, and even Nian, just in
case he's still hanging around.
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