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lunar New Year's Eve to devour people and animals.
People were scared of it. On every lunar New Year's
Eve, in order to keep themselves safe, people fled
to the mountains, bringing along the old and the
young. On one lunar New Year's Eve, an old man with
long whiskers came into the village. He was begging
for some food and a place to stay overnight. At
that time, the villagers were in a hurry fleeing
to the mountains to avoid being hurt by ˇ°Nianˇ±.
The villagers were busy running for their lives,
so no one noticed the old man except an old lady.
ˇ°Climb the mountain, or 'Nian' will devour you.ˇ±
She said to the old man. The old man smiled, but
he didn't say any word. ˇ°Be quick, in less than
several hours 'Nian' will come.ˇ± The old lady added.
Still, the old man smiled. Then, he said,ˇ± If you
let me stay at your home for a night, I assure you
of driving 'Nian' out.ˇ± ˇ°Butˇˇ± At last, the old
lady had no choice but to flee to the mountains,
leaving the old man in her house. At midnight, ˇ°Nianˇ±
did come. It found there was something different
in one house and so walked around the house to see
whether there was anything unusual. There was a
piece of Chinese red paper on the door, and a flame
indoors. Seeing that, ˇ°Nianˇ± trembled all over and
cried in a strange voice. It glared at the house,
and then pounced on the house. As it was approaching
the house, suddenly some loud sound of firecrackers
came out of the house. Again ˇ°Nianˇ± trembled, and
it had no courage to approach any more. At that
time, the door opened. Indoors the old man who begged
the old lady for her house to stay overnight smiled
at ˇ°Nianˇ±. He was wearing a Chinese red coat. On
seeing that, ˇ°Nianˇ± ran away. In fact, ˇ°Nianˇ± was
afraid of red, flame and firecracker.
Spring Festival <Chinese New Year>
The Spring Festival Season lasts 15 days.
We Chinese people observe Spring Festival
in the same way that western people observe
Christmas Day. Spring Festival is the time
for family reunion. Children who stay far
away from home will return home during the
What is Spring Festival ?
Chinese people also call Spring Festival ˇ°passing
'Nian'. What is ˇ°Nianˇ±? It's a kind of animal
that can bring us bad luck. Of course, it
doesn't exist. It results from our imagination.
There is a legend about ˇ°Nianˇ±. ˇ°Nianˇ± was
a monster with antennae. It was very rude
and lived at the bottom of the sea. It went
From then on, people living in the village knew
how to drive ˇ°Nianˇ± off. It is the reason why
we Chinese people like wearing red clothes and
setting off firecracker on lunar New Year's Eve.
It is an age-long custom. On lunar New Year's
Eve: we wear new clothes and hats, especially
red ones; we wish our relatives and friends a
happy new year, we have red antithetical couplets
on our doors, we set off firecracker, we light
candles and wait for the new year to come.
How to spend Spring Festival ?
The Spring Festival Evening Party
In 1983, we had the first Spring Festival Evening
Party held by CCTV. It was a direct broadcast
live program. After it, the party were hold every
year. On the lunar New Year's Eve, the whole family
watch this program while having festival dinner.
It has become a staple of what we should do on
the eve of the lunar New Year. Families celebrate
their reunion at that time. The evening party
consists of all kinds of entertainment in different
Chinese styles. People dance and sing sweet songs
in the program. It also has talking shows and
comedic performance. Because of this program,
a song titled ˇ°My Chinese Heartˇ± has been extremely
popular throughout the nation. Every actor or
actress in China feel it a great honor to be able
to perform in this program. So they work hard
for a chance to participate in this program. Nowadays
people pay more and more attention to this program.
In order to satisfy the people, CCTV tries its
best to give a perfect program every year.
Setting Off the Firecracker
The first thing we do in the New Year is to set
off the firecracker. Setting off fireworks is
a traditional feature that is believed to create
a festival atmosphere. It can bring us happiness
and good luck. People especially children like
setting fireworks. During Spring Festival you
can hear the frequent sound of fireworks. You
can also see that a lot of children running about
in the street to set fireworks. You should watch
out if you walk outside during the Spring Festival.
Otherwise, you may be hurt.
However, firecrackers create a lot of pollution
and it may do harm to people. So since 1993 inhabitants
can set off firecracker only in certain places.
Now some people step on balloons for the effect
of loud sound as a substitute of fireworks.
New year in Shanghai
The New Year celebration starts with thanks-giving
ancestor worship on the twenty-fourth day of the
twelfth lunar month. Ancestors are sanctified
as gods and believed to have divine powers to
decide the destiny of the family.
On New Year's Eve, every household worships its
ancestors with sacrificial offerings to pray for
good luck throughout the year. On New Year's Day.
as soon as the day dawns, the head of the family
leads his entire family in ancestor worship which
follows certain rituals and rules in respect of
sitting arrangement and sequence of worship.
Thanks-giving worships to the Kitchen God and
other gods are also made on the tweniy-fourth
day of the twelfth lunar month. It is said that
the Kitchen God will return to heaven to present
a memorial to the Jade Emperor on that day. The
offering of malt sugar and puncture vine will
make him report on people,s good deeds only. The
Kitchen God will be welcome back on New Year's
Eve. Following the sacrificial offerings to ancestors
and gods, a series of New Year,s activities will
be launched in succession.
Shanghai families staying up all night on New
Year's Eve to wait for the new year.
The deafening sound of gongs and drums resounds
through the sky. New Spring Festival couplets
are pasted up on branches of cypress are hung
from the eaves. Everything looks fresh and gay.
New Year calls will be made from the early moming
of the New Year's Day till the tenth day of lunar
New Year, but not later than the fifteenth day.
It starts with children's offering New Year felicitations
to their parents who will then lead their children
to visit their friends and relatives to extend
Paying New Year calls is also said to bring happiness
to the family. The guests will be treated to "yuanbao
tea" (tea with two Chinese olives) and liquor-saturated
rice while the young will be given red packets.
On the night of the fifteenth day of lunar New
Year, the thunderous roar of firecrackers reverberates
in the whole city which will be illuminated by
a multitude of festive lanterns and thronged with
large crowds of people. The whole scene is a tremendous
spectacle. On that day, women and children will
have a night out to adnure the lanterns and also
to cross three bridges so as to dispel disease.
All the festive lanterns will be removed on the
night of the twenty-third day.