The Chinese New Year has its roots in many interesting legends. One of the most popular of these legends is the legend of Nian—a vicious and fearful beast. Nian was believed to have a huge mouth and people said that this ferocious Nian could swallow humans in just one gulp. Obviously, it was greatly dreaded and in order to keep Nian at bay, the Chinese put up red paper couplets and decorations on doors and windows at the end of each year because Nian was believed to be dead scared of the color red. Firecrackers are also burst during this time with the intention of scaring away Nian or any evil whatsoever !
Thereby the Chinese start off the year with a feeling of content and renewal of having been able to keep off Nian for another year. They wish each other good luck and fortune and a prosperous “Xin Nian” or “Happy New Year”. (‘xin’ means ‘new’ and ‘nian’ meaning ‘year’).