In Chinese, the word for New Years is “Guo Nian.” Translated it means to “pass over Nian” or “overcome Nian.” So, what is Nian?
Long ago in the mountains, there lived a horrible demon creature named Nian. Every year, on the first day of the year, the beast would awaken and descend upon the village. He would eat all the grain and livestock. The villagers lived in fear of this beast and boarded up their houses on this night to protect their families.
The god feels sad for the villagers. One year, right before this event was to occur, he turns to an old man visits the village. He informs the villagers, “The beast is easily scared. He does not like the color red. He fears loud noises and strange creatures.
So, at that night, the villagers spread red across the village, hang red signs on every door, make loud noises with drums, music, and fireworks. And to protect their children, they give them face masks and lanterns to protect them.
After that year, Nian never returns, and it has become a traditional part of New Years celebration is to hang lots of red decoration in your house. Streets are filled with music, loud drums, and fireworks all day long. And special paper lanterns are made in a variety of shapes and sizes, paraded through the streets to scare off any demons that might come.