Today is the last day of school before the weekend and Lunar New Year Celebrations. Many offices are closed for the second half of the day and schools celebrate the Pre Chinese New Year festive today.
Parents are allowed to attend the Chinese New Year concert at Lea’s kindy but not for Rae’s primary school. It is every parent’s pride to watch their kids perform on stage. Each class from the nursery to kindy levels performed in groups in this Chinese New Year celebration. Even the teachers put up a dance number and a sketch about the story about firecrackers and why the need for decorations mostly in red.
Before this concert, I was very ignorant about how these colours and firecrackers came about. Perhaps I learnt it during school days but I had totally forgotten about it till today. So the concert was very educational indeed.
Lea and Kids at their Chinese Cheong Sam in school
Kids performing a simple Lion Dance and a Song Performance on stage
Why do we light up firecrackers during Lunar New Year?
Why is Red an auspicious colour?
The story started right from the beginning of Spring festival. Nian is a beast that swallows many people in one mouthful. People were frightened of this beast. An old man came to the people’s rescue, offering help. He reasoned and challenged Nian to swallow other beasts of prey on earth instead of people. The beast then left to pursue attack on other beasts along with the old man, who was believed to be immortal. Before he left, the old man also advised the people to put up lots of decorations in red as it was the colour that the beast was fearful of. The villagers also lighted firecrackers to ward of the beast. This was done to make sure the beast stay clear of them.
Although the beast did not appear a long time after that, the observation for all decorations in red and firecrackers used during this time were carried out in every beginning of spring just in case the beast returned. It continued from generations after generations. It is always a happy celebration as the days of spring passes on when there was no signs of Nian. Hence the Chinese people described this celebration as ‘survive the nian period’, or in Chinese – Guo Nian.
As many generations passed, the people had forgotten the history or legend that came with the Lunar New Year. It became a regular happy celebration, to put up red decorations as well as light up firecrackers. This is what makes Chinese New Year celebration what it is, today.