Xin Nian Kuaile! Yes, that is Happy New Year in Chinese! And yes, I am a little late...imagine that! Though it seems late you may be surprised to learn that they are still celebrating here in Ch*na. Though we may celebrate on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in the states, it is a much bigger festival here in Ch*na.
You will see many dressed in red. All the children here were dressed in their best red weeks before the holiday. Children will also be given red envelopes with money in them.
The dance troupe had portable musicians. They rolled the drum along and continued to dance throughout the village. As they went, they also let off fireworks. I have heard fireworks daily for the past two weeks.
It appears that some of the men even join in. They too put on makeup and dress up to join the dance festivities. This man resembles our gate guard but I wouldn't swear to it. I don't know if he would swear to it either. :)
According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian or "Year" in Chinese. Nian would come on the first day of New Year to devour livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, the Nian never came to the village again.
In our region there is also the tradition of eating jiaozi on New Year's Eve and then again on New Year's Day. It is supposed to bring you wealth. They eat on New Year's like we do on Christmas. They cook so much so they do not have to cook on New Year's Day. This is due to some believe that lighting fires and using knives on the first day of the New Year can bring bad luck.
Throughout the holiday, family is very important. All of Ch*na has traveled to where their family is. They will see all their family members throughout this holiday season. I love how important the family is to the Ch*nese.