Chinese New Year is a Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar.
The festival is usually referred to as the Spring Festival in modern China and is one of several Lunar New Years in Asia. Observances traditionally take place from the evening preceding the first day of the year to the Lantern Festival, held on the 15th day of the year. The first day of Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between January 21 and February 20. In 2018, the first day of the Lunar New Year was on Friday, 16 February, initiating the year of the Dog.
Chinese New Year is one of the world's most prominent and celebrated festivals and is the cause of the largest annual mass human migration in the world. It is a major holiday in Greater China and has strongly influenced the lunar new year celebrations of China's neighbouring cultures, including the Korean New Year (seol), the Tết of Vietnam, and the Losar of Tibet. It is also celebrated worldwide in countries with significant Overseas Chinese populations, these including Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines and Mauritius, as well as many countries in North America and Europe.
According to tales and legends, the beginning of the Chinese New Year started with a mythical beast called the Nian. Nian would eat villagers, especially children. One year, all the villagers decided to go hide from the beast. An old man appeared before the villagers went into hiding and said that he's going to stay the night, and decided to get revenge on the Nian. All the villagers thought he was insane. The old man put red papers up and set off firecrackers. The day after, the villagers came back to their town to see that nothing was destroyed. They assumed that the old man was a deity who came to save them. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the colour red and loud noises. When the New Year was about to come, the villagers would wear red clothes, 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. After that, Nian retreated to a nearby mountain. The name of the mountain has long been lost over the years.