Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The dragon new year: a Chinese legend

Bouchard, Dave. The dragon new year: a Chinese legend, Atlanta, GA: Peachtree, c1999.

This is an awarded children’s book about a Chinese folklore that explains why people set off firecrackers to celebrate the New Year. This book is for young children aged 4-5 years old. A young girl is frightened by the big noise and bright light of the dragon dance in the traditional Chinese New Year celebration while she is sleeping. Her grandma comes to comfort her by telling her a Chinese folktale. In the old days, it is dead quiet during New Years because people escape due to the fear from a red fierce sea dragon, which comes out to massacre people and destroy villages every year. Since the dragon lives at the bottom of the ocean, it is very dark, cold and quiet. So a wise Buddha thinks out a plan to scare the dragon away by making loud noises and bright light. He invents firecrackers, which are made from explosives and paper. When people burn them, they can produce sharp light and big noise. After the red dragon is driven away forever, burning firecrackers and having firework displays have become a Chinese folk custom in order to remember the achievement of Buddha and celebrate the New Year.

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