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Origins of Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year (CNY) or Spring Festival, 春節 chun jie, is a huge celebration, and one that is the most important of Chinese holidays, for more than a billion Chinese people around the world. The origin of this celebration is by itself centuries old and has gained significance through myths, superstitions and traditions.
My father once told us that CNY began with the fight of men against a beast. Every year, on the first day of New Year, a mythical beast called Nian 年 would attack livestock, crops, villagers and even children. To protect themselves, the villagers would offer food to placate the beast. After much trial and errors, it seemed that Nian was also afraid of the color red and loud, explosive noise from firecrackers. So from then on, overcoming Nian became 過年 Guo Nian and the tradition of preparing food, wearing red and playing with firecrackers carried on.