Happy New year
The Chinese new year began on February 12th. According to the Chinese zodiac and the lunar calendar, 2021 will be the Year of the Ox.
In Chinese, the character “year” is “Nian” (年), which according to Chinese mythology, is a beast. The story tells us that, at the beginning of each New Year, the Nian would come out of its hiding place. Finding food to be sparse in the winter, he would go into the village to feed on animals and people. Eventually, after the attack, the villagers discovered that the Nian was afraid of loud noises, fire, and the color red. Hence, people would put red lanterns and spring scrolls in their windows and doors. They wore red robes, hit drums, plates, empty bowls, and threw firecrackers. Their attempt to intimidate the Nian was successful and he no longer appeared around the New Year.
According to myth, an ancient Taoist monk, Hongjun Laozu, captured the Nian and became his mount. The villagers could finally ‘pass over’ or ‘overcome’ the “nian” for the New Year.
Today the celebration of the Chinese New Year holiday is called “Guo Nian”, meaning “pass over nian” or “overcome nian”. This reminds us of the Jewish holiday, Passover. Right before the Chinese New Year, people put the red New Year couplet upon the two doorposts and on the lintel, similar to the children of Israel putting blood on their doorpost and lintel so that Jehovah would pass over them.
Happy Chinese New Year!