Celebrating Chinese New Years, the Year of the Snake
The people of China celebrate the New Year on the first day of the lunar calendar. Since it is also considered to be the first day of spring, the traditional 15-days long celebration is also called Spring Festival, where schools and shops are sometimes closed for up to a week.
According to folklore, a wild and mystical beast named “Nien,” the word for year, appears at the end of the year to feast on defenseless villagers and children. It was found that the beast could be scared away by loud noises and bright lights. Therefore the New Year tradition of lighting firecrackers, hanging of bright red “Chūnlián,” and wearing of new clothing in red or gold – the colors of good fortune and prosperity – was created.