Get your mandrin oranges and lanterns ready everyone because the festive season is back again. Happy Chinese New Year to all! May the year of the Rat prosper with Independence, Imagination, Optimistic and Energetic throughout the year. With the Chinese New Year fuss, have you ever heard about the legend of this special festival? Well hold on to your firecrackers, and let me tell you a story of The Legendary tale of Nian.
Once upon a time, a long time ago there existed a quite and peaceful village,where the villagers lived simple lives and generally quite happy but things would change however on the eve of the Lunar New Year as the villagers began their preparation to hide from what was soon to come.
High in the mountains lived a ferocious mythical demon called ‘Nian’, who had the body of a bull and the head of a lion. He would terrorised, hunt people and livestock to fulfil his hungry nature. Throughout the year he would sleep soundly until the Lunar New Year arrives and then he would descend upon the village, Nian would devour crops, gobble all livestock and eat the villagers especially children. And in fear the villagers would lock up their doors and even run into the mountains to hide for the frightful night.
Until one day the Gods came and locked him up in the mountains at the edge of the world so that he would never cause chaos to the village ever again. After Nian was locked away, everyone was happy and life was good. But then a year passed and Nian has escaped from the mountains and began to seek revenge on the villagers.
As that fateful day approached, an old beggar enter the village. Seeing that everyone has locked up their home, he asked if anyone was willing to offer him a place to stay but the villagers however was too concerned with protecting themselves they paid no attention to the old man.
An old woman from the east side of the village saw the old man and offer some food and explain why was everyone was in such a panic. She pleaded with the beggar to leave as soon as possible or else he may suffer a terrible fate. However, the old man kept his cool and smoothed his whisker slowly, requesting to stay one night in the old woman’s house, he would reward her by banishing the evil creature. Not convinced of his promise, and she continued her persuasion. However, the old man did not change his mind, and having no alternative, and feared of being left out when Nian arrives. She has no choice but to agree with his proposal.
Once midnight arrived, so did Nian. Normally the village wound remain completely silent and dark, however this time was different. At the one end of the village, Nian could see lights in the distance. Approaching cautiously Nian drew closer to the source of the lights, when he came to the source it was the old woman’s house that was covered with red papers and bright lights was coming from it. Nian began to tremble and growl. Irritated with colors and bright lights, Nian charge the door but was holt by loud intimidating crackles and flashes. Through the smoke of the crackles the old man emerge wearing bright red clothes, was loudly beating a drum and roaring with laughter at how scared was Nian from the noise and bright colors. So scared Nian fled away into the night.
The next day the villagers open their doors and was surprised to find out that the village remain untouched. At this point the old woman remember the message from the beggar and she asked the villagers to examine her house to see what the old man had done to save the village. They were surprised and interested to see the red papers, lanterns and the burn bamboo that causes the crackling sound.
To celebrate their triumph, the villagers wear bright red outfit and visit their neighbours to share the story. The word quickly spread, as more and more villages do the same actions as well. And since then Nian was never seen again.
Years have passed and these tradition was formed like the red lanterns, firecrackers, and so on, the used to be feared night was now replaced with excitement and celebration.
By Puteri Nuraqidah Razak
23rd January 2020