农历新年的起源之“怪兽传说”

2010-06-23 17:16:16   Tag:

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农历新年的起源之“怪兽传说”:The Chinese New Year is now popularly known as the Spring Festival because it starts from the Beginning of Spring (the first of the twenty-four terms in coordination with the changes of Nature).

The Chinese New Year is now popularly known as the Spring Festival because it starts from the Beginning of Spring (the first of the twenty-four terms in coordination with the changes of Nature)。 Its origin is too old to be traced. Several explanations are hanging around. All agree, however, that the word Nian, which in modern Chinese solely means "year", was originally the name of a monster beast that started to prey on people the night before the beginning of a new year.

春节始于中国农历,其起源因太古老,而无法考究。其中有一种说法是"年"原来是一种怪兽的名字。

One legend goes that the beast Nian had a very big mouth that would swallow a great many people with one bite. People were very scared. One day, an old man came to their rescue, offering to subdue Nian. To Nian he said, "I hear say that you are very capable, but can you swallow the other beasts of prey on earth instead of people who are by no means of your worthy opponents?" So, it did swallow many of the beasts of prey on earth that also harassed people and their domestic animals from time to time.

传说年有一张大嘴,一口能吞下很多人。人们很害怕。一天,一个老人来了,答应制伏年兽。老头跟年兽说:我听说你很有两下子,可是你能吃了其他那些凶残的野兽吗?于是年兽就把很多其他野兽吃了,但也吃了不少家畜。

After that, the old man disappeared riding the beast Nian. He turned out to be an immortal god. Now that Nian is gone and other beasts of prey are also scared into forests, people begin to enjoy their peaceful life. Before the old man left, he had told people to put up red paper decorations on their windows and doors at each year's end to scare away Nian in case it sneaked back again, because red is the color the beast feared the most.

后来,老头骑着年兽消失了,临走告诉人们,用红色的纸把门和窗装饰起来,以防年兽回来,因为年兽很害怕红色。

From then on, the tradition of observing the conquest of Nian is carried on from generation to generation. The term "Guo Nian", which may mean "Survive the Nian" becomes today "Celebrate the (New) Year" as the word "guo" in Chinese having both the meaning of "pass-over" and "observe". The custom of putting up red paper and firing fire-crackers to scare away Nian should it have a chance to run loose is still around. However, people today have long forgotten why they are doing all this, except that they feel the color and the sound add to the excitement of the celebration.

至此,趋赶年兽的方法流传了一代又一代。过年这个词,也由原来的躲避年售,变成现在的庆祝新年。过年帖红纸,放鞭炮的习俗延续了下来。现在的人们,只有这种颜色,这种声音能让他们过年的兴奋。

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