Monday, January 26, 2009

About Xin Nian - the Chinese New Year

Today is Chinese New Year. The happiest persons will be children and unmarried men and ladies because they are entitled to be given hongbao or ang pow (red packets containing money ) on this day. Once you are married you have to give hongbao instead of receiving them.

According to belief, the giving of hongbao to children is to ward off misfortune and evil. Hence hangbao is also known as yasuiqian which is money to suppress sui, a monster believed to do harm to children.

I will tell readers about the origin of Chinese New Year or xin nian.

In ancient time, there was a creature called 'nian' which came out to kill human beings every year. Later the Chinese leant that it was afraid of the colour red, light and din. Hence the Chinese people wore red attire, lit up their dwelling and played fire-crackers to drive the monster away on the said day when it was supposed to appear.. From then onwards the Chinese celebrate Xin Nian, a day of rejoice for having beaten nian, the monster.

Hongbao were given to children on Chinese New Year eve and not on xin nian day as is practiced today. There are many taboos too on this auspicious day. For example, no sweeping of floor is to be done lest money will be swept away, no uttering of words like ‘die’, and ‘break’ and no scolding to children too.

Happy Chinese New Year to all readers who celebrate this auspicious day

No comments: