Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chinese New Year

Today is New Years day according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar also known as the Spring Festival. The neighborhood where I live is made up of mostly first generation Chinese Americans so today is a big deal in my neck of the suburban woods.

Originally when Less Than Three Press sent out their call for New Years stories I was at a lost for what to write. For me New Years the way it is celebrated in American is a very modern thing and I couldn't figure out how to write a New Years story minus the contemporary setting.

Then at some point over the summer I was researching Chinese monsters and stumbled across the myth about the beginnings of the Chinese New Year. 

This is what Wikipedia has to say on the matter:
According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian (Chinese: ; pinyin: Nián). Nian would come on the first day of New Year to eat livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, Nian never came to the village again. The Nian was eventually captured by Hongjun Laozu, an ancient Taoist monk. The Nian became Hongjun Laozu's mount.[10] (

That just sparked my curiosity to find out more about this myth. I read multiple versions of the story plus tracked down some amazing art including this delightful video:

Finally I created my own retelling of the legend in Zi Yong and the Collector of Secrets

You can buy just the story for only $1.99 or you can buy the bundle which includes this story along with nine other amazing ones.

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