Nián 年 drawings

Every year, Chinese New Year is a big celebration in our household. With it being a family holiday, it can also be quite difficult for my wife when she’s unable to go back.

This year, due to travel restrictions we’re unable to do so. We’ve decided to do a bit more things at home in the lead up to the Year of the Ox.

What better place to start than the story of Chinese New Year and the antagonist of that story Nián.

Story of Nián 年

A long, long time ago in China, there lived a nasty beast called Nián who resided in the deep dark sea for long periods of time.

By the end of the lunar year, Nián would go onshore to hunt people and livestock.

Before New Year’s Eve, all the villagers would escape to remote mountains to avoid Nián’s attack.

Then on one New Year’s Eve, a strange old man was welcomed to a village. The villagers, with not a moment to spare, shuttered their doors and windows dead, packing for their escape to the mountains.

An old lady from the village tried to persuade the old man to leave with the villagers. However, the old man requested to stay one night in the old woman’s house. For her kindness, he would expel Nián from the village.

Unable to persuade the old man, she agreed and escaped to the mountains alone.

At the stroke of midnight, Nián broke into the village. The whole village was in darkness, apart from the old lady’s house.

Surprised, Nián approached the house with caution. For it found all the doors and windows pasted with red papers and many candles lit inside.

As it came closer, the beast heard a sudden loud cracking sound burst out from the courtyard. Frightened, Nián ran into the dark night never to be seen again.

In order to celebrate the triumph over Nián, the people began using red and lots of fire crackers on Chinese New Year.

Our Nián Drawings