Chinese New Year is the 31st January this year, it is different every year because the Chinese calendar is based on the lunar calendar. Yesterday it was New Year’s Eve for the Chinese people and we saw lots of Chinese with big rucksacks going home for the reunion dinner whilst we were at the train station. At the reunion dinner fish is always served because in Chinese fish means prosperous.
A long time ago there was a monster called Nian. He came down from the mountains every winter when the village was low in provisions and stole the food. A few moons later the villagers found out that Nian was afraid of scarlet, fire and loud noises. So the next time Nian came the people waved red banners and torches and set off fire crackers. This scared Nian away and he never came back. So every Chinese New Year Eve they hang up red banners, and set fire crackers, and set off fire works. We saw lots of fireworks last night out the window!
Today is the Chinese New Year’s Day and it’s the start of the year of the horse. There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, one for a whole year. There’s a story about which animals are in the zodiac and how they decided who got which year:
The Jade Emperor decided to select 12 animals, one for every year. The animals heard this and rushed to him wishing for a spot. The Cat and the Rat decided that the best way to cross the river was on Ox’s back. Halfway across the river Rat pushed Cat into the water and Cat drowned so didn’t make it into the zodiac. When Ox was nearly at the bank Rat jumped off and claimed the first year. I was born in the year of the monkey, 2004.