Last month’s celebration of the Lunar New Year ushered in the Year of the Dragon.

The Chinese zodiac calendar follows a twelve year cycle, with each of the twelve years represented by an animal. Your animal is determined by the year you were born. Click here to see what the Dragon has in store for you this year.

Why are red and firecrackers so prevalent during Chinese New Year? There is quite a bit of folklore on that subject. One popular tale is the myth of Nian. Nian was an underwater beast with sharp teeth and horns who would make its way onto land every Lunar New Year’s Eve and attack the village. On one New Year’s Eve, an old man came to the village and refused to accept shelter. The next morning he and the village were untouched. He said he warded off the beast by hanging red banners on the doors, lighting firecrackers and wearing red clothing.

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