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Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is celebrated on the first day of the year of the Chinese calendar. Celebrations typically run from Chinese New Year’s Eve, the last day of the month of the Chinese calendar (lunisolar calendar) to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month. This is the longest festival in the Chinese calendar.

 

This year the celebrations start on January 30 (New Year’s Eve) and continue to Feb. 15. 2014. It is The Year of the Horse. The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people’s ethos – making persistent efforts to improve themselves. It is also known as energetic, bright, warm hearted, intelligent and able.

 

According to legends, the origin of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian that would come to the villages on the first day of the New Year to eat livestock, crops and even villagers. In order to protect themselves against the Nian the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year as they believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn't attack any more people. However, one day people saw that the Nian was frightened away by a small child wearing the color red and understood that the Nian was afraid of this color. So, when New Year’s was about to arrive, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. Firecrackers were also used to frighten away the Nian. From then on the Nian never came to the villages.

 

Happy New Year!! I hope it is a wonderful year for all!

 

Patti

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