Chinese New Year is one of the biggest holidays in China. Children receive about a month off of school, and families are brought together with a feeling of festiveness. Extravagant feasts are prepared by the members of the family with each dish representing a symbolic meaning. Fish are eaten to bring prosperity, oranges and egg rolls for wealth, and noodles for longevity. A special dish called nian gao, a glutinous rice cake, is also eaten during this holiday. Nian gao literally translates to “year high” and is eaten for good luck in the next year.
There is also a monster named Nian that is closely tied with Chinese New Year. The legend of Nian begins with a village that was being terrorized by this demon monster. Nian lived in the mountains near this town and ate their unfortunate livestock, crops, and children. One day, a wise elder visited this village and decided help them. He stayed overnight and in the morning, no one had disappeared. However, the old man had to leave eventually and gave the citizens advice on how to stop Nian’s horrendous attacks. He revealed that Nian was terrified of loud noises and the color red. The next night, the village was decorated in red and the villagers had set off fireworks. From then on, the Nian stopped attacking the village.
Although I have never spent Chinese New Year in China, I have been to numerous New Years celebrations in America. The experience is very glamorous and entertaining. Everyone is dressed in traditional clothing made of flowing silk and the colors are vivid and bright. There are also performances with talented dancers and musicians. Chinese New Year celebrations have something for everyone, and it is something for all to experience.
Written by: April Fan/ Picture is from web site