Children's Stories

Nian, the monster. Traditional chinese tales

Nian, the monster. Traditional chinese tales

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At the end of January or the beginning of February, the Chinese calendar celebrates its New Year, a holiday that is celebrated in style in the Asian country. If you want to tell the children more about these special days, share with them chinese folk tales like this one that we propose. Its titled 'Nian, the monster ' and it is a Chinese folk tale that explains to your children why the Chinese New Year is celebrated with noise, firecrackers, dances and a lot of red color.

Long ago, there was a monster named Nian. He loved having a small town in China terrified and visited it once a year to scare its inhabitants. He always visited the village on the first day of the year, to remind the locals that he was still there for another year and that they must remain scared.

The terror that Nian aroused could have lasted forever. However one day, by chance, one of the villagers wore a red robe. When the monster Nian approached him and saw the red robe, he started to flee. The villager was startled when he saw the monster and the metal bucket he was carrying fell down the hill, causing a loud and annoying noise that scared Niam even more. The monster sped away from there.

Returning to the village, the local told all his neighbors about his encounter with the monster and how lucky he had been: his red robe had scared Nian and with the noise of the metal bucket the monster began to flee without looking back.

Knowing how to make the monster stop scaring them, all the villagers spent a whole year preparing. When Nian reappeared the following year, they all went looking for the red flags and rattles that they had been making during the year.

With the noise of the rattles and the waving of the red flags, Nian, the monster, fled in terror and the villagers they never saw him again.


In addition to get a little closer to Chinese cultureThis story can help you know if your child is able to understand the meaning of the words he reads and, what is more complicated, the message that the story conveys. To do this, we propose some reading comprehension questions below. Some of the following statements are true and some are false. Do you dare to do this reading exercise?

  • Nian went to visit a Chinese village several times a year.
  • All the villagers feared the monster Nian.
  • One day, one of the villagers dressed in red and that made the monster very scared.
  • However, when Nian heard the noise, she was unfazed.
  • The villagers found a way to keep the monster from coming back.

And a question for your son ... what was this solution to the problems with Nian?

How much do you know about Chinese culture and the great celebration that is organized in honor of the New Year? Here we tell you some of the funniest curiosities about this holiday so that you can pass them on to your child.

- Why is your New Year not the same as ours?
As you well know, in the West we change the year on our January 1. However, according to the traditional Chinese calendar, the new year begins when we are in late January or early February. And it is that, in addition to celebrating it at a different time of year than we do, its date for this party changes every year.

And how can this be? It is because traditionally, in China they are guided by a calendar according to the moon (while our calendar, which is called the Gregorian calendar, is guided by the sun).

- Each year, corresponds to an animal
The traditional Chinese calendar considers that each year that begins corresponds to an animal. There are 12 animals that celebrate: the rat, the buffalo, the pig (or wild boar), the tiger, the rabbit (cat or hare), the dragon, the horse, the goat, the snake, the monkey, the rooster and the dog.

Thus, for example, the year 2000 was the year of the Dragon; the year 2001, that of the Serpent; 2002, that of the horse ... So until 2020, which is that of the Rat.

And why animals? There are several legends about the origin of this tradition. On the one hand, it is said that these were the guests of a great banquet that the important Jade Emperor celebrated. It is also said that they all participated in a great race, which gave them the position they would occupy in their celebration of the New Year.

This is a great time to find out what animal you are according to the Chinese calendar. Do you already know?

- The celebrations last for many days
We celebrate the New Year from December 31 to January 1, however, the Chinese celebrate this holiday for 15 days. In fact, many families return to their cities of origin, where their relatives live, to spend these days all together. There are big traffic jams on the roads and train and plane tickets have to be booked well in advance!

- Some traditions of these days
In addition to throwing out lots of fireworks and firecrackers (even setting them up as decorative ornaments) and turning everything red, it is traditional in Chinese New Year to thoroughly clean houses. In this way, it is possible to get rid of the evil spirits so that they do not accompany us in the new year. In fact, many leave their windows open for them to escape.

- The red envelope, do not miss
In the Chinese New Year, all the children receive a red envelope (which we already know from the story we have just read that it is a very important color in this celebration since, in addition, it is considered the color of good luck). In this envelope, their parents and other family members give them some money that the children save (or so they should!).

However, today, fewer and fewer children and young people receive an envelope in hand. It is becoming more and more common for their relatives to make a transfer to them through a mobile application. Has the magic been lost a bit?

Even though we live far from China, we can involve children in this fun and colorful celebration. In fact, it is a perfect excuse for the little ones learn more about culture and tradition of this eastern country. But how can we celebrate the Chinese New Year? Here are some ideas!

1. Locate China on the map. Before any celebration, we must take a map (or make our own homemade world map) to know where China really is. For this, we can compare it with our country. Is it bigger or smaller? Is it too far or not that far? Is it further north or south?

2. Go to a parade or exhibition about China. More and more cities are organizing parades and other activities to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Going with the children can be a great idea for them to learn more about the main traditions of these days. The little ones are sure to be very surprised by the great dragons of the processions.

3. Learn some Chinese proverbs
Proverbs are sayings that are passed from generation to generation and that contain bits of wisdom that are very useful for children. Taking advantage of the arrival of the New Year, you can share with your child some of the most popular Chinese popular sayings.

  • You have to climb the mountain as an old man to reach the top as a young man.
  • You cannot guide the wind, but you can change the direction of your sails.
  • If you already know what to do and don't do it, then you are worse off than before.
  • The heart never speaks, but you have to listen to it to understand.

4. Prepare a rich recipe
A wonderful way to celebrate this holiday is by cooking a delicious typical dish in China. Do not miss the recipes that we propose. You will love them!

5. Read more Chinese stories
And there is no better way to celebrate and learn about the Chinese tradition than by reading some popular tales that come directly from the East.

You can read more articles similar to Nian, the monster. Traditional chinese tales, in the category of Children's stories on site.

Video: The Legend of Nian (December 2022).