If you ask me what is my most favorite festival, of course, it would be the Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, which was the most important festival in China that symbolized the beginning of another brand new year. At this time of the year, everyone was busy to prepare for the Nian Huo, which is New Year’s product such as snacks, food, and clothes, for gifts or stock for the rest of the year. Chinese New Year has been celebrated for thousands of years, no one really knows when and how it starts.
Remember there was this myth about the New Year, parents like to talk about how Chinese New Year began. This myth was about the giant monster called Nian. Nian lives under the sea or in the mountain, it awakens and came out to human village searching for food every New Year’s Eve. It ate all the food in the village and even children who were not able to run away, that people could only hide in their homes. However, a naughty and brave boy took out the firecrackers and threw at him. Surprisingly, Nian didn’t fight back instead it run away with fear and horror. After this, people find out Nian was scared of large noise and red color, so people start to put red decorations around their houses, played loud music and firecracker on the street. Then, this practice becomes the Chinese New Year.
I remember my mother was telling me this story when I was really young. The horror of Nian didn’t make me scared of New Year, instead, it deeply attracts my interest to this big festival. Remember when I was still in China, we got really busy a few days before the Chinese New Year. We brought lots of plants which contain good meaning and decoration, such as red lanterns and strings of chili peppers and red paper, adorn around our houses, especially on doors and windows. Even sometimes we will repaint the house which would bring us luck.
On the day of the Chinese New Year, we start our day in the early morning and go out to the food market to get some fresh food and fruit. When we get back home, we cook the food well and place them nicely in an open area, praying to God and our ancestors for the wish we had for the next year, which often would be healthy and getting a good grade in school. Then, we will take a shower with the herb water to clean off the dirt and bad things we got from the previous year. Next, we went to my grandparents’ house with all the other family members and our cousins with plenty of food. There was an idol statue in my grandparent’s house, so we will pray to them as well but more formal. There was a specific order of how the food should be placed and the sequence of people praying. After this, my mom and aunts would often helped my grandma separate the food to each family. At this time, we will share both good and bad things we did that year and talks about future goals.
Then, it was the best part of the festival, adults passed out the red pocket. All the attention was attracted by it, we were so excited and wondering how much money there was in the pocket but due to there was still adult in front of us, we were scared if we open it in front of them, they would be angry. So we could only find a blind spot that no one could see and took a quick sight of the red pocket for our curiosity.
We always eat hotpot for dinner in the New year. All the family member sitting around the table eating and chatting. Everyone was just so happy for the year over and believe the new year would be much better than the previous. As the tradition followed by the myth of Nian, the firecracker was always the activity we had after dinner. It was so fascinating to watch the single spark lightening up the sky. Although it was not legal anymore because of the safety reason and the pollution it caused, it was always my favorite memory of New Year.