Legend has it that Lunar New Year started back in ancient days, when a mythical beast known as Nien, would linger around villages on the first day on the New Year to prey on livestock and devour crops, villagers and even little children
|A more modern way to scare Nien|
At first, the villagers believed that in order to protect themselves, all they had to do was to place food at their door fronts at the beginning of every year. They later learned that Nien feared the colour red (when it was frightened away by a little boy wearing red). After that the villagers would hang red lanterns, paint their main doors red and use red firecrackers to scare away the Nien. Singapore no longer tolerates firecrackers and banned them when they caused tragedies and fires, although the fake kind is used to decorate, shops, houses and temples.
|Food offerings to Nien|
Today, though people no longer believe that Nien is still in existence, but the tradition and practices have been brought on from generation to generation in Chinese societies all over the world, Singapore being no exception.
To be continued.....
Until the next blog