TUESDAY TRIVIA: What Is the Origin of the Chinese New Year?

The 2021 Chinese New Year festival began February 12.

What is the origin of the Chinese New Year?

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica the origins of the Chinese New Year are steeped in legend. One legend is that thousands of years ago a monster named Nian (Year) would attack villagers at the beginning of each new year. The monster was afraid of loud noises, bright lights, and the color red, so those things were used to chase the beast away. Celebrations to usher out the old year and bring forth the luck and prosperity of the new one, therefore, often include firecrackers, fireworks, and red clothes and decorations.

However, other sources say farmers started the holiday in China to mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It was also a festival to honor ancestors.

Because the annual 15-day festival begins with the new moon that occurs sometime between January 21 and February 20 according to Western calendars, the farmer origin seems more likely. Festivities last until the following full moon.

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