once the Nian had eaten the food they prepared, it wouldn't attack any more people. On one occasion people saw the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red, and they realised that the Nian was scared of the colour red. Since then, at New Year, the villagers would hang red lanterns and spring scroll on windows and doors.
People also used firecrackers to frighten the Nian away. The Nian stopped coming to the villages and was eventually tamed and became the mount of Hongjunlaozu.
The Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is also known as the Lunar New Year, because the festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th of the month, the day of the Lantern Festival.
The Chinese New Year is celebrated in many countries that have links with China, including Taiwan, Korea, Mongolia, Nepal, Bhutan, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and other countries with significant populations, and even in Japan before 1873. There seems to be confusion about when the Chinese actually started to celebrate the New Year.
The year started with the 1st month during the Xia Dynasty, (a dynasty is a succession of rulers who belong to the same family for generations), then with the 12th month during the Shang Dynasty, and the 11th month during the Zhou Dynasty.
Because the Chinese New Year is based on a lunar calendar, an intercalary month (a month with a leap year day) was added when necessary to keep the lunar calendar synchronised with the sun. The first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, decided in 221 BC that the New Year would start in the 10th month, but in 104 BC Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty decided that the 1st month is the start of the New Year, and this is still the practice today.
The Chinese horoscope is based on animals, and this is a list of animals related to the New Year for the coming years: Snake – 10th February 2013. Horse – 31st January 2014. Sheep – 19th February 2015. Monkey – 8th February 2016. Rooster – 28th January 2017. Dog – 16th February 2018. Pig – 5th February 2019. This is followed by the year of the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit and Dragon, after which the cycle starts again.