Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Nian" Comes To BISS (A Story Of How Chinese New Year Came Along)

Once upon a time, in a small village in China, there lived very peaceful villagers. Then, one day, a monster called "Nian" came and terrified the villagers. While the monster was searching the village for would-be victims, the villagers hid in their huts and prayed to the Jade Emperor.

When the Jade Emperor found out about Nian, he became very angry. He sent his most powerful warrior down from the heavens to capture the monster. The warrior captured the monster and put it in a cell in the heavens. He never gave him any food until the last day of the year, when the Jade Emperor decided to send the monster back to the village. The Jade Emperor told Nian that he could eat as much food as he wanted.

When Nian reached the village, he chased the villagers. One old lady was running with a pot. The monster cornered the old lady because she was slower than the other villagers. Since the old lady was so scared, she accidentally dropped the pot. Nian jumped back in fright and left the old lady alone. The old lady realized that Nian was scared of loud noises.

While the monster was moving away, he saw another villager and ran at her. She held a bowl with fire and coals in it. When the monster saw the flames, he went away. The lady replaced the fire with red paper because she believed that the monster was afraid of red.

Nian came back one day and was going to eat all of the villagers, but they were prepared. Every door had red paper to keep Nian away, and the old lady created fireworks. The monster was scared away and never came back.

From then on, these traditions have been passed down and continued to modern day China.

Now, why am I telling you this story? It really does not affect you. Well, as a class, we performed this play. There are only eight of us in our Chinese class, but you can still put on this play. Now, the big question...Who did I play?

Let me tell you this. I am good at acting and making strange noises. What character would you put me as?

Not a villager.
Not the Jade Emperor.
Definitely not an old lady.
Not a warrior.
You got it...Nian!

One day at school, our Chinese teacher asked us if we wanted to sing a song for the school Chinese New Year celebration. We gave her a big "No!" She told us the story of Nian and it was decided. We would put on a play.

I was directing it, technically (with help from Elizabeth). I told our teacher, who was the narrator, what the lines would be. We gave out characters, and got costumes and props.

Now, imagine a yellow lamb. Put it on two legs, with a human face and brown horns. Add on a tail, and you will know what I looked like.

Eventually, it started coming along. People learned their lines, got their cues, and got prepared. After one final Saturday practice, the play was ready.

Julie did our makeup. All I had was black eye shadow and wrinkles. We went to the side room of the courtyard where our celebration was taking place. After a few actions and some words from the principal, we were on.

The play ran smoothly. It was awesome! No one forgot their cues. Everybody loved us! We performed for the younger grades, and then for the secondary school.

Well, what did you do for the Chinese New Year celebration?

~Zoli

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