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All About the Holidays: Chinese New Year

2 minutes

(male narrator) Chinese New Year is celebrated on a date between January 21 and February 20. The origins of Chinese New Year are a mystery, but legend tells the tale of an ancient beast, Nian, whose name means "year" in Chinese. In ancient China, at winter's end, the hungry monster entered villages to eat crops and livestock. Villagers discovered that Nian was frightened by loud noises, fire, and the color red. Every year, on the last day of winter, Chinese people decorated their houses with red paper cutouts and red hanging lanterns and set off fireworks to keep Nian away. He never returned, and the Chinese people have celebrated Chinese New Year with these good-luck traditions for thousands of years since. To prepare for Chinese New Year, families traditionally clean every corner of their homes to symbolically sweep away the previous year's bad luck. Along with lanterns and cutouts, they hang banners of poetry called couplets on either side of their doorways. These poems express wishes of hope and happiness for the new year. On Chinese New Year's Eve, many families have large reunions. They feast on traditional foods, play games, and exchange gifts. Kids receive special red envelopes containing money. Now that's good luck. Traditionally, at midnight, families set off fireworks to celebrate the new year and to scare away Nian. Nowadays, many cities around the world have Chinese New Year celebrations for everyone to enjoy. There's Chinese food, music, performances, parades with traditional lion dances, and fireworks displays. What are your favorite New Year's traditions?

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Learn more about the history and traditions behind the Chinese New Year, a celebration of good fortune at the end of winter. Part of the “All About the Holidays” series.

Media Details

Runtime: 2 minutes

All About the Holidays
Episode
2 minutes
Grade Level: 4 - 8
All About the Holidays
Episode
1 minute
Grade Level: 4 - 8
All About the Holidays
Episode 1
2 minutes
Grade Level: 4 - 8
All About the Holidays
Episode 2
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Grade Level: 4 - 8
All About the Holidays
Episode 3
2 minutes
Grade Level: 4 - 8
All About the Holidays
Episode 4
2 minutes
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All About the Holidays
Episode 5
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All About the Holidays
Episode 6
1 minute
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All About the Holidays
Episode 7
1 minute
Grade Level: 4 - 8
All About the Holidays
Episode 8
2 minutes
Grade Level: 4 - 8