Premise: According to the mythology related to the Chinese New Year, a creature called 年 (also referred to as 年兽 — pinyin: nián shòu — 年獸 in Traditional chinese) was a mythical beast that "lived under the sea and in the mountains".
This beast used to come out once a year to attack people and eat them, although — always according to the mythology — it preferred children. Eventually the villagers understood that this beast hated loud noise and feared the color red (it seems this is the origin of the known red chinese lanterns), because it escaped when it saw a child wearing red.
Here comes my question: Although the story is interesting, I'd like you to focus on the language part of this question. I noticed fairly quickly the relation between the name of this beast, 年 which means (year) and the fact that it attacked once a year, during the spring, so around the Chinese New Year celebration.
Maybe it's a coincidence or maybe I'm just reading it wrong, but is this the origin of the term year or is it rather the opposite, i.e. the beast was given this name because it used to appear once a year?
In other words, is the character etymology related to this fact? If so, in what measure and what manner?