The Nian Legend
The traditions of the New Year celebrations are the sort of thing you’d expect to find in most human festivals—light, bright colors, and plenty of noise. For the Chinese New Year, these things have a specific reason to exist—at least, according to legend. In the distant past, stories say, there was a great beast named Nian. The people lived in fear of this monster that had the head of a lion and the body of a bull. Every winter, when food in the countryside was becoming scarce, Nian would raid human settlements and take what it could.Eventually, someone figured out that Nian appeared to be scared of three things—the color scarlet, loud noise, and fire were said to frighten the beast.
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