January 2008 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue
| Volume 14, Issue
February 2008 Theme
Chinese New Year
Scholar & Engineer
STORIES AND AUDIENCE PARTICIPATIONS
Chinese Legend Of Nian
Utah National Parks Council
See the song about Nian in the Song
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
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
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
All the ANIMALS were exhausted but quite
happy with this decision because they didn’t need to argue any more.
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