Happy Chinese New Year!
Today I want to talk a little bit about Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival (春节). It's the equivalent of something like Christmas in Western cultures, and is characterized by family gatherings, celebrations, and religious rituals.
In ancient tales, Year (or Nian, 年), is a monster that comes into the villages of China and feast on little children every first day of the lunar calendar. Then, one day, someone discovered that the monster is deathly afraid of the color red. So the person told everyone to wear red on the eve of and at the beginning of a new year. Since then, the monster has never reappeared.
It is only a mystical tale, of course, but the tradition of wearing red and decorating houses and streets with red has lasted through the entire 5,000 years of Chinese culture. the color Red is seen as a sign of peace and happiness, and symbol of perfect bliss.
Today is New Year's Eve, and families usually gather for a feast and stay up for firecrackers and midnight wishes.
Right now I'm in New Jersey, buried in snow--sounds like a bad thing, right? Rather, it's the opposite. In Chinese, there's this idiom that "plenty snow forebodes a reaping year." Let's hope that's the truth and enjoy this lovely time of year!