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The Chinese New Year and its Monster

The Chinese New Year of 2020, celebrating the Year of the Rat, falls on Saturday 25th January and will end 2 weeks later, on Saturday 8th February. Whilst the Festival is well known all around the world, do you actually know its origin? Let's take a look then.

In ancient times, there was a monster named Nián. It usually lives at the bottom of the sea and comes up once a year to feast on animals and humans. On this day, the villagers would all escape into the mountains.

One year, a beggar came to seek shelter, but everyone was hurrying away. Only an old woman took him in and he promised to chase Nián away. He busied himself with decorating the homes.

At midnight, Nián lumbered in but stopped short when it saw the red paper on the doors. As it roared in anger, firecrackers suddenly sounded and it trembled in fear. When it saw the beggar, dressed in red, laughing at it, it could only run away.

The villagers came back the next day and were pleasantly surprised that the homes were all still standing. They realised that loud noises and the colour red were Nián’s kryptonite.

This is why, on New Year’s Eve, families eat dinner in their homes fortified by red decorations. At midnight, firecrackers are sounded.

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Year of the Rat according to the Chinese zodiac

Rat is the first in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac. The Years of the Rat include 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032...

Strengths: Adaptable, smart, cautious, acute, alert, positive, flexible, outgoing, cheerful

Weaknesses: Timid, unstable, stubborn, picky, lack of persistence, querulous


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