It is unclear when the tradition of New Years celebration began in China. It was thought to have started from the year end of religious ceremony during the Shang Dynasty (1766 BC - 1122 BC).
Some believe that it started as early as Emperor Yao and Shun (~2300 BC). The date of celebration has varied over the years from mid-winter to early spring. With the maturity of the solar base calendar, Emperor Wu (157 BC - 87 BC) of the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220), established the first day of the first month as the beginning of the year, where it remains today.
Over time the celebrations have changed, just some quick examples include:
Emperor Yao and Emperor Shun (~ 2300 BC) had small scale New Year celebrations
Shang Dynasty (1766 BC - 1122 BC) the New Year celebration commenced after a religious ceremony.
Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220): New Year celebration became the first day, of the first month and crack bamboo appeared. (Crack bamboo will create loud cracking sound when put on fire. It is believed that the sound drives away evil.)
Wei Dynasty (220 - 265) and Jin Dynasty (265 - 420): Fireworks used in New Year celebration. The tradition of Shou Sui formed.
Song Dynasty (960 - 1279): Fireworks started using gun powder .
According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the "Year". The "Year" looks like an ox with a lion head and inhabits in the sea, at the night of New Year's Eve, the "Year" will come out to harm people, animals and properties.
People discovered that the "Year" fears the color red, fire, and loud sounds. So for self-protection people formed the habit of posting red Dui Lian in front of their house as well as launching fireworks, and hanging lanterns.
These and other Traditional Chinese practices all form part of TCM, each adding a little to the history and methodology of Acupuncture and Herbs.
Eca Brady is a fully licensed physician of Chinese Medicine BSc(Ac) MBAcC PGDip(CHM), practicing from Harley Street, London. Make an appointment for an acupuncture treatment and we can discuss how we can help you, to read more about Eca click here