Happy Chinese New Year! This is the year of the white metal Tiger, bringing the qualities of vigor, compassion, enthusiasm and courage. The Tiger also offers protection and brings success through hard work and perseverance.
According to tales and legends, the beginnings of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nien. Nien would come on the first day of New Year to devour livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nien ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. Also, people noted that the Nien was scared of the color red. Therefore, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns, red spring scrolls on windows and paint their doors red. People also used firecrackers to scare away the Nien. The Nien was eventually captured by an ancient Taoist monk and became his mount.
All this and more make up how Chinese New Year is celebrated today. Starting with a thorough house cleaning (like our spring cleaning) symbolizing the sweeping away any of ill-fortune and making way for good luck; To painting front doors red, hanging red lanterns, gifting money in red envelopes; And feasting the night of the New Year, ending the celebration with a firework display, are all part of the lore and festivities welcoming in the New Year.
On February 14, 2010, the Chinese lunar calendar rolled into the Year of the Tiger. Unfortunately, the plight of wild tigers doesn’t call for much celebration. Three subspecies have been driven to extinction in the past century alone and experts estimate there are as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild. The good news is that you can help secure a future for these magnificent animals by joining World Wildlife Fund and help to double the number of wild tigers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger. The year of the Tiger is a great way to increase awareness of these beautiful animals!
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