Sunday, January 29, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year!

We attended a fun Chinese New Year celebration last night hosted by the Saratoga Stake Chinese Branch.

We feasted on all sorts of Asian treats (an entire buffet spread!), enjoyed a program and learned a little more about the festival festivities. Incase you don’t understand all the excitement around Chinese New Year, I’ll give you a little rundown below.

According to legend, Chinese New Year began with the mythical beast Nian. Nian came on the first day of the New Year and ate livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. Yikes!

So, to protect themselves, the villagers put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. Villagers believed that once Nian ate the food they prepared, the beast wouldn’t attack any more people. Then one year, people noticed Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red. So, the villagers decided that Nian must be afraid of the color red.

After this discovery, every time the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. Firecrackers were used to frighten Nian away. From then on, Nian never came to the village again. And the legend claims that Nian was eventually captured by an ancient Taoist monk.

I also (relearned) that I was born in the Year of the Pig and Brent was born in the Year of the Monkey. We’ve obviously known this before but we are both always forgetting. I can see why I forget my Chinese zodiac sign; who wants to be the Year of the Pig? But, for Brent it’s perfect; the Year of the Monkey is the closest the Chinese zodiac signs come to a gorilla (Brent’s favorite!).