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守岁的含义

中国民间在除夕夜有守岁的习惯。守岁,俗名“熬年”,是从吃年夜饭(团圆饭)开始,一夜不睡,以迎接新年的到来。

为什么称作“熬年”呢?民间世世代代流传着这么一个有趣的故事:相传,在远古的洪荒时代,有一种凶恶的怪兽,人们叫他"年"。每到大年三十晚上,年兽就要从海里爬出来伤害人畜,毁坏田园,降灾于辛苦了一年的人们。人们为了躲避年兽,腊月三十晚上,天不黑就早早关紧大门,不敢睡觉,坐等天亮,为消磨时光,也为壮胆,他们就喝酒。等年初一早晨年兽不再出来,才敢出门。人们见面互相拱手作揖,祝贺道喜,庆幸没被年兽吃掉,这样过了好多年,没出什么事情,人们对年兽放松了警惕。就在有一年三十晚上,年兽突然窜到江南的一个村子里,一村子人几乎被年兽吃光了,只有一家挂红布帘、穿红衣的新婚小两口平安无事。还有几个童稚,在院里点了一堆竹子在玩耍,火光通红,竹子燃烧后"啪啪"地爆响,年兽转到此处,看见火光吓得掉头逃窜。此后,人们知道年兽怕红、怕光、怕响声,每至年末岁首,家家户户就贴红纸、穿红袍、挂红灯、敲锣打鼓、燃放爆竹,这样年兽就不敢再来了。在《诗经·小雅.庭燎》篇中,就有"庭燎之光"的记载。所谓"庭燎"就是用竹竿之类制作的火炬,竹竿燃烧后,竹节里的空气膨胀,竹腔爆裂,发出噼噼啪啪的响声,这也即是"爆竹"的由来。可是有的地方,村民不知年兽怕红,常常被年兽吃掉。这事后来传到天上的紫微星那儿,他为了拯救人们,决心消灭年兽。有一年,他待年兽出来时,就用火球将它击倒,再用粗铁链将它锁在石柱上。从此,每到过年,人们总要烧香,请紫微星下界来保平安。

» 守岁 | 中国政府网

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