The Story of Chinese New Year

Ever wondered why the colour red is so important? Why streets are adorned with paper lanterns? Why music is played and fireworks are lit all day long?

Well, you don’t need to wonder any longer…

(Maybe just a little longer…)

(A few more lines?)

(Ok, I’ll get on with it!)

Long ago in China, hidden among the mountain mists lived a demonic creature called Nian. At the bottom of the mountains lay a small village, whose inhabitants greatly feared this horrifying beast. They feared him because every year, on the first day of the year, Nian would descend upon their houses, eat every last grain of their food supplies and any child that crossed his path.

For years, villagers hid from the monster, boarding up their houses and cowering away in their shadow-filled rooms. One year, however, something changed…

A wise elderly man arrived in the village and asked: ‘why do you cower so? There is only one monster, but there are many of you?’

The villagers could not hear the wise man for the blood pounding in their ears.  They were simply too scared and continued to board up their houses in the face of Nian’s fury. Nian, however, never came. The elderly man had ridden the beast until dawn to tire him and keep him away from the village. He continued to do so for several days, but eventually told the villagers, ‘I am sorry. I wish to protect you, but I cannot ride this creature forever. I am a God and have other duties elsewhere.

He could see the panic on their drawn faces, without him Nian would return and wreak havoc again. So he advised them, ‘Nian is perhaps more fearful than fearsome. He is deeply scared of many things like the colour red, loud noises and strange creatures. So, if you do not wish him to return, drape your village in red, play drums loudly and light fireworks to scare him away. If you fear losing your children, then give them extraordinary masks to wear and bright lanterns to hold.’

The wise God left the villagers with these insightful words. Nian never returned to the village.

In Chinese, Guo Nian means ‘New Years’ and it literally translates as ‘to pass over Nian’ or ‘to overcome Nian’.

So, there you have it! The Story of Chinese New Year.

And to help you celebrate Chinese New Year this year, Tower Bar is blessing you with good food. From 12 February – 17 February an exclusive Chinese New Year menu will be available for you to enjoy among friends and perhaps even family.

Don’t forget! An important part of the New Year festival is to offer good wishes close ones, so make sure you let relatives and friends know how much you value them.