Chinese New Year celebrations were born out of fear and myth. The legend of the man-devouring predator beast Nian (which is also the word for “year”) told of its frightening appearance at the end of each year, attacking and killing villagers. Loud noises, bright lights, and the color red were used to scare the beast away, and the Chinese New Year celebrations were said to have evolved from that. Today, the 15-day New Year festivities are celebrated in China, Vietnam, Korea, Mongolia, and where these communities reside all over the world.
The Chinese Lunar New Year is the longest chronological record in history, dating from 2600 B.C., when the Emperor Huang Ti introduced the first cycle of the zodiac. The Chinese lunar calendar starts the lunar year based on the cycles of the moon. Therefore, because of this cyclical dating, the beginning of the year can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February. This year it falls on January 23, 2012 — the Year of the Dragon.
Celebrated internationally, Lunar New Year is considered to be a major holiday. Families and friends reunite to ring in the new Lunar New Year with well-wishing, ritual, great feasts, and exuberant activities.
Salvador Dali, Bruce Lee, Joan of Arc, Susan B. Anthony, Florence Nightingale, Sigmund Freud, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Gao Xingjian – Nobel prize winner, Japanese artist Matsumoto Hideto
Isabella Rossellini, Reese Witherspoon, Rihanna (Robyn Rihanna Fenty), Al Pacino, Shirley Temple