Baloo's Bugle

January 2008 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 14, Issue 6
February 2008 Theme

Theme: Chinese New Year
Webelos: Scholar & Engineer
Tiger Cub
Requirement 4



Chinese Legend Of Nian

Utah National Parks Council

See the song about Nian in the Song section  CD


One legend goes that the beast Nian had a very big mouth that could swallow a great many people with one bite. People were very scared. One day an old man came to their rescue. He offered to subdue Nian. To Nian he said. "I hear say that you are very capable, but can you swallow other beasts of prey on the earth? And not just people?" "People are by no means worthy opponents for you." So, Nian went out into the mountains and jungles and forests to find opponents worthy of his skill and prowess and did indeed swallow many beasts of prey on earthy that also harassed the people and their domestic animals.

After that, the old man disappeared riding the beast Nian. The old man turned out to be an immortal God. Now that Nian is gone and other beasts of prey are also scared off into the forests, people begin to enjoy their peaceful life. Before the old man left, he had told the people to put up red paper decorations on their windows and doors at each year's end to scare away Nian in case Nian sneaked back again, because red is the color the beast feared the most.

From that day on, the tradition of observing the conquest of Nian is carried on from generation to generation. The term "Guo Nian" which means "survive the Nian" becomes today, "Celebrate the New Year." The Chinese word "guo" mean pass-over or observe. The custom of putting up red paper and firing firecrackers to scare away Nian should it have a chance to run loose is still around. However, people today have long forgotten why they are doing all this. They feel the color and sound add to the excitement of the celebration.


How The Chinese Zodiac Started

Sam Houston Area Council


Instead of dividing the audience into different groups, have the audience make the sound for each animal. For ANIMAL(S) the audience can make any animal sound they choose.

The New Year was drawing near and twelve ANIMALS were arguing because each one wanted the year to be named after himself. You can just imagine the commotion as TIGER, DRAGON, SNAKE, HORSE, RAM, MONKEY, OX, ROOSTER, RABBIT, DOG, PIG, and RAT argued and argued.

The DRAGON and the TIGER argued over which one of them was the fiercest. “This should be called the year of the DRAGON because I can create storms,” roared the DRAGON. The HORSE came galloping in. “No, it should be called the year of the HORSE, because I can run fastest.” The proud ROOSTER was preening himself. “No, you are both wrong. It should be called the year of the ROOSTER because I am the most handsome.”

All the ANIMALS disagreed with ROOSTER. There was such a noise of roaring, hissing, neighing, bleating, chattering, barking, grunting and squeaking that the gods were disturbed.

The gods appeared in the sky and demanded to know what all the noise was about. “What are you arguing about?” asked one of the gods. All the ANIMALS tried to answer at once. The noise was deafening. “Be quiet, at once!” ordered the gods. “You all have very bad manners.” The ANIMALS were ashamed of themselves. They politely explained one by one what they had been arguing about. Each ANIMAL explained why he was the most important and why the New Year should be named after him.

The gods thought hard about the problem and decided to involve all the ANIMALS in a race. “Can you see the big river?” asked the gods. “You can all race across the river and the first ANIMAL to get to the other side will have the New Year named after him.”

All the ANIMALS agreed to the race; secretly each one thought he would be the winner. They lined up along the bank. “Ready, steady, go!” shouted the gods. There was an enormous splash as all the ANIMALS leapt into the water.

The race was very close to start with as HORSE, DRAGON, TIGER, and OX swam neck and neck. However OX was the strongest swimmer and he began to take the lead. RAT was not a very strong swimmer but he was very cleaver. As soon as he saw OX take the lead, RAT thought “He’s not going to beat me. I have a plan.” RAT swam as fast as he could and just managed to grab hold of OX’s tail. He carefully climbed onto OX’s back without OX noticing him. OX looked around but did not see RAT on his back. “I’m going to be the winner,” thought OX, “I am well ahead of the other ANIMALS, no one will catch me.” OX slowly and confidently waded the last few meters to the bank but clever RAT leapt over his head and onto the bank first. “I’m the winner, I’m the winner,” squeaked RAT. The OX was so surprised. “Where did you come from?” he asked RAT.

The gods declared clever RAT the winner and named the New Year after him. “Next year will be the year of the OX because OX was second.”

One by one the other ANIMALS reached the bank. TIGER was third, RABBIT was fourth, DRAGON was fifth, HORSE was sixth, SNAKE was seventh, RAM was eighth, MONKEY was ninth, ROOSTER was tenth, DOG was eleventh, and PIG was twelfth and last. “You have all done well,” said the gods. “We will name a year after each one of you, in the same order that you finished the race.”

All the ANIMALS were exhausted but quite happy with this decision because they didn’t need to argue any more.


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