The legend of the Chinese New Year or “Nian”

Written by Juliette Qi


The Chinese New Year 农历新年 (Nongli Xinnian), also called Spring Festival 春节 (Chunjie), is the most important festival for Chinese communities around the world. The celebration of this festival lasts a fortnight, from the new moon to the first full moon of the year, which corresponds to the lantern festival.


Have you noticed that the Chinese New Year, which begins the Year of the Dog this year, has already arrived? Have you ever wondered what is the origin of this traditional festival and its many customs? Here is a short video that will provide an overview of the origin of this festival through a Chinese legend:

After watching this cartoon on the “Nian”, do you find the monster terrifying or cute? According to Chinese legend, in the deepest corner of the world lies this frightening and mythical creature called “Nian”. He woke up each winter and became a real disaster for the villagers because he devoured and destroyed everything in his path. Yes, as you may have guessed, he must have had a ferocious appetite after having rested for a long time …

Le Féroce  Nian

As a result, the poor villagers lived in anguish and even domestic animals were scared. Until one day, an old man traveling through the country explained to them that the monster was afraid of the noise and the red color. To drive the monster away, the people hurried to hang lanterns and red banners in their houses.

Lanterns and Red Couplets as Decorations Today

When the creature arrived once more to frighten the people in village , everyone made as much noise as possible by beating gongs and drums, as well as snapping firecrackers. Terrorized by the color red and the incessant noise, Nian fled and never came back. Therefore the New Year’s celebration is called Guo Nian in Chinese (literally “pass the year”).

The Noises to Chase Nian

Nowadays in China, some traditions are still practiced like sticking red couplets on the entrance of the houses, with New Year’s greetings inscribed on it. The Chinese New Year has also evolved to adapt to the contemporary situation. To avoid the air pollution, children no longer crack firecrackers as fun in the cities. However, in some specific places, we can still watch beautiful fireworks while wishing for a prosperous new year.


The Chinese New Year is a moment when everyone enjoys the holidays and family gatherings. “HAPPY NEW YEAR” in Chinese: 新年快乐 (Xinnian Kuaile) or 新年好 (Xinnian Hao) are exclamed to wish an excellent year that brings us joy, happiness, prosperity, love and good health!




About Interact China

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

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