According to legend the Chinese Zodiac is named for the 12 animals that responded to Buddha's call. They arrived in this order: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and boar. In 2008, this year is the Year of Rat. Stepping into 2009, it is the Year of Ox.
Chinese New Year also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival is the first day of the Chinese (Lunar) calendar. Celebrated by Chinese people around the world, it is a major holiday where friends and family gather for a reunion dinner and celebrations.
New Year is the time to celebrate a new beginning and seek a new blessing for happiness, peace and prosperity. It is the time to celebrate the end of winter and welcome spring coming with Chinese music and dance, lanterns, feasts, friends and family, and the Resounding Drums to dispel the bad and bring in good luck.
Wish everyone good health and good fortune in the New Year!
Don't miss the thrilling and incomparable 2009 New Year show "Chinese New Year Spectacular" - A unique holiday gift for everyone.
Chinese New Year Legend
In ancient times, there was a legendary ferocious beast named Nian. Nian lived at the bottom of the sea all year around, but when the Chinese New Year's Eve came, Nian would leave the sea, approach villages, eat livestock and hurt human beings. Therefore, every year when the New Year's Eve was getting closer, people all fled to tall mountains to prevent from being hurt by Nian.
One year, when people were busy with fleeing to the mountains, there was an old man entering a village. He told an old lady that if she allowed him to live at her house for a night, he would drive the ferocious beast "Nian" away. But no one believed his words. The old lady tried to persuade him to hide himself in the mountains. But the old man insisted on staying in the village. When the beast Nian entered the village to do bad deeds, all of a sudden it was badly frightened by loud sounds from firecrackers. Meanwhile, he saw the red couplets on the door of a house and the candles in the house were still lit. The beast Nian was so scared that it ran away. It turned out that firecrackers, light and the red color were what Nian was most scared of. The second day, when the villagers came back, they found that nothing was damaged. Then they figured out that the old man was an immortal being. Meanwhile they knew the three treasures which could drive Nian away.
Since then, every New Year's Eve, people all post red couplets on their doors, ignite firecrackers and keep their candles lit the whole night. This custom was quickly spread far and wide and the New Year became the most important traditional Chinese holiday.
Every year, the seven days before the Chinese New Year, based on Chinese lunar calendar, were called "xiao nian." During these days, each household starts to prepare for the New Year's coming. They clean the house and purchase special New Year's treats, such as chicken, fish, candy, and the like. Each household also prepares presents for visiting relatives and friends and buys new clothes for the children.
On New Year's Eve, it is the time for the whole family to be reunited. In northern