One year, an old man arrives and says he can keep the dragon beast away. It is a traditional practice to light fireworks, burn bamboo sticks and firecrackers and to make as much noise as possible to chase off the evil spirits as encapsulated by Nian. The first and most well known is the legend of Nian (Year “Nian” as in New Year –”Xin Nian”): There was a monster in ancient times with a body of a bull and the head of lion. Book Resources. The story will also provide opportunities to teach students about characters, adjectives, and onomatopoeia. Have you ever wondered why Chinese people display red items and set off fireworks during the Chinese New Year? The one you tell on this page or the one that Year/Nian was resting at the bottom of a river or sea and made him self visible at the spring festival? The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe. For thousands of years, nilometers measured the water level of the Nile River during the annual flood season. Every winter he came down to get a nice feast. While the western Gregorian calendar is based on the earth’s orbit around the sun, China and most Asian countries use the lunar calendar that is based on the moon’s orbit around the earth. The Legend of Nian presents the classic Chinese legend with beautiful illustrations and is a great way to introduce students to the Chinese New Year. The kind and brave people eventually discovered that "Nian" had a weak spot and they began to retaliate. It sank off the coast of present-day Namibia while it was filled with more than 40 tons of precious cargo, including gold, silver, copper, and more than 100 elephant tusks. Nian is a dragon beast that comes out of the ocean once a year and eats people. Historically, the Spring Festival was a way of letting the people know what time it was to do what. A long time ago, a terrible demon beast called Nian lived in the mountains. In 104 BC, Emperor Liu Che of the Western Han Dynasty presided over the formulation of the solar lunar calendar which is similar to the Hebrew Calendar. In the vaults of Yale University, and insured for $25 Million, it is either a colossal fraud or an... A Swiss-Russian team of archeologists, anthropologists and forensic experts have discovered evidence of extreme Siberian nomadic violence within communities of ancient Siberians . Somalia: The Ancient Lost Kingdom of Punt is Finally Found? Legend has it that this monster named "Nian" was usually asleep at the bottom of the sea, but it would wake up from the Abyss on Lunar New Year's Eve. Directed by Sylvia Chang. By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. It was a ferocious animal that lived in the mountains and hunted for a living. April Holloway is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. The legend says, long ago, there was a monster called Nian. It is celebrated on the first day of the first month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar (the first day of the second new moon after the day on which the winter solstice occurs, unless there is an intercalary eleventh or twelfth month in the lead-up to the New Year—in such a case, the New Year falls on the day of the third new moon after the solstice). What does Nian mean? Keep in mind that the emperors of old did not do everything by themselves and had experts or “officials” to help out, but the burden of responsibility was always on the ruling emperor. Unlike other tellings, this version uses a little girl to portray the heroine, Mei, because "...well, girls rule!" Ancient Origins © 2013 - 2020Disclaimer - Terms of Publication - Privacy Policy & Cookies - Advertising Policy - Submissions - We Give Back - Contact us. The pinyin for the Chinese title is Yan Yun Tai, so for the sake of brevity, I shall use YYT to represent the drama/novel. Many modern-day celebrations trace back to the legendary story of Nian. Other customs and traditions include honouring one’s elders, which involves visiting the oldest and most senior members of the extended families. Since the beginnings of the Han Dynasty, New Years Day as well as the Winter Solstice were the Emperor’s most important dates. Your email address will not be published. For privacy reasons, she has previously written on Ancient Origins under the pen name April Holloway, but is now choosing to use her real name, Joanna Gillan. One night when Nian was spotted coming down the mountain they started the fires, put up the boards painted with scarlet, and stayed up all night long making noises. The Legend of Nian. Red is the predominant colour used in the New Year celebrations. Messiah on Temple Mount: Are We Nearing the End of Time? This tunnel was built by the Knights Templar when the city was under the rule of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and served as a strategic passageway connecting the Templar palace to the port. The Legend of Nian: In the distant past, the people of Peach Blossom village lived in fear of the monster. One legend is that of Nian, a hideous beast believed to feast on human flesh on New Year's day. In Chinese mythology, a Nian is a beast that lives under the sea or in the mountains. The New Year was likely the start of preparations for a new growing season. The Chinese New Year (農曆新年, Nónglì Xīnnían), also known as the Lunar New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. Is the Assyrian Nimrud lens the oldest telescope in the world? > So, every New Year’s Eve, villagers would have to flee to the mountains to avoid the Nian. Over time the villagers realized that the ferocious Nian was afraid of three things: the color scarlet, fire, and noise. The Nian or Nián shòu is a Chinese creature that lives in the sea and mountains. The new study could reshape history, since it openly challenges the “out of Africa theory.”. Chinese New Year always falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. Millions of people across China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan and other countries around the world are today celebrating the Lunar New Year and welcoming in the Year of the Pig as part of an ancient custom that dates back at least 3,400 years. The old Chinese word “Nian” translates to “ripe grains.” This word dates back more than three thousand years to oracle bone inscriptions inscribed with astronomical records during the 14th Century B.C. Legend (fiction), 188 words, Level G (Grade 1), Lexile 490L Nian is a dragon beast that comes out of the ocean once a year and eats people. Will he succeed? The legend of the Nian occupies a fundamental role in traditional Chinese, having given birth to a tradition that survives very much unchanged among the Chinese of the modern era. Petroglyphic Features of Portable Rock Art, The Northern Mysteries Current: Futhark and Mystery Schools of the Viking Age, Floki and the Viking Discovery of Iceland, 3 Problems to Remember When Trying to Find Atlantis. This calendar is consisted of different animals for every month, hour and year. With wishing that the year of the Pig will be prosperous. Did Egyptian Mummification Descend from a More Ancient and, Perhaps, Reversible Preservation Technique? The date of Chinese New Year, which is also called Spring Festival, changes every year as it is based on the lunar calendar. A new analysis of two 7.2 million-year-old fossils belonging to a hominin species nicknamed “El Graeco” from Mediterranean Europe, suggests that mankind emerged in Europe and not in Africa. The marking of the Winter Solstice was an important event because if an emperor miscalculated, the kingdom wouldn’t know which day marked the coming of the New Year. According to legend, in ancient China there lived a monster called the Nian, which means “year”, that would attack villages every lunar New Year, eating livestock, crops and even people, especially children. Nian According to a Chinese legend a terrible monster (pictured sometimes with features of a lion, unicorn, and ox), a really giant, monstrous creature by the name of ‘Nian’ lived in the mountains and would come down at the end of the year to destroy the fields, crops … It was important to know when to till the soil and sow the seeds. Shang Dynasty. The impact of seasonal changes is demonstrated in the expressions of more or less every culture on the planet...informative article. People found out that the beast was terrorized by bright red lights, red color and loud sounds. Every year on the eve of the New Year, the monster, Nian, would emerge from the sea and kill people and livestock and tear the village up. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=730826050370354&set=a.313566... Ching Shih – From Prostitute to Infamous Female Pirate, Oldest Japanese Manuscript on Confucius Teachings Confirmed, The Vinland Map: A Most Non-European Artifact, High Levels Of Ancient Extreme Siberian Nomadic Violence Discovered, Sherlock Holmes and the Foil Covered Brain of Lake Michigan, Chinese Votive Sword Found in Georgia suggests Pre-Columbian Chinese travel to North America. So when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. The next morning everyone got up congratulated each other and had a big celebration. (Dr. Loh-Hagan). Nian, the Chinese New Year Dragon by Virginia Loh-Hagan, illustrated by Timothy Banks, is a retelling of Nian legend, giving the origins of the Chinese New Year. He lived in a cave high up in a mountain. Secluding itself in the dark sea for a long time, the beast would go onshore by the end of the lunar year and hunt people and livestock. 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