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Nian, the monster

Nian, the monster

This legend explains why China welcome the Chinese New Year with firecrackers, lion dances and decorating everything in red: they want to scare Nian, the monster.

Once upon a time...

A long time ago, there was a monster named Nian, who loved visiting a little village in China every year, to scare everybody he saw. He thought that it was great fun, he liked to do this every first day of the year, to remind people that he was still around.

This probably would have gone on forever but one day, one of the villagers was wearing a red tunic and when Nian jumped out to scare him, Nian took one look at the red tunic and ran away. He startled the villager so much that the villager dropped the heavy metal bucket he had been carrying. The bucket bounced down the hill hitting every rock in its path, it made a horrible noise, Nian looked fearfully over his shoulder and began running even faster.

The villager told everyone of his fabulous luck: his red tunic had scared Nian and the noise of the bucket had sent him running away. All year long, the villagers prepared and when Nian appeared the following year, everyone in the village was ready, with red banners and the loud rattles they had made. They shook their rattles and waved their banners. And Nian ran away. The villagers never saw him again.

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