Chinese New Year 2018
Unlike the majority of us who celebrate New Year at midnight between 31st December and 1st January, the Chinese follow the lunar calendar which varies new year from anywhere between 31st January and 20th February. 2018 begins on Friday 16th February. The Chinese zodiac features 12 animals, with each year having a corresponding creature, 2018 welcomes the year of the dog.
How is Chinese New Year celebrated?
Chinese New Year celebrations are global, with an extraordinary mix of lights and sounds. Bell ringing, firec
rackers and dancing lions will all be on display wherever you are. Usually, Chinese families gather for a meal on New Year’s Eve and clean their houses to banish bad fortune. Kids traditionally received ‘lucky money’ in red envelopes on the day but mobile apps are slowly growing in popularity.
The animals of the Zodiac
Legend folk stories tell of the Jade Emperor deciding on a new way of telling time. On his birthday he called out to all the animals, asking them to meet him. The first 12 animals to reach the Emperor would be part of the new calendar, in the order they arrived.
As the animals began to reach the end of their journey, they reached a river. The rat and cat who were good friends got there first but were worried about crossing as they were bad swimmers. An ox approached and agreed to take them over on its back. Whilst sitting on the ox, the rat pushed the cat into the water and jumped off onto the river bank to greet the Emperor, followed by the Ox. The cat struggled in the water and didn’t reach the finish line. A tiger claimed the third year of the calendar, exhausted by his swim against the strong currents of the river, followed by a rabbit which had hopped across stepping stones and a floating log that drifted to the bank. A dragon then swooped down to the surprise of the Emperor. The Emperor was surprised it hadn’t won and asked why? The dragon said he needed to make some rain for the other animals to drink and a small puff of wind to help the rabbit cross on the log. A horse galloped into touching distance of the Emperor until a snake appeared from nowhere, surprising it and forcing it to take a step back. Next to cross was a goat, a monkey and a rooster, who had all worked together to build a raft to take them across the river. The final animals to arrive were a dog and a boar. Drenched and exhausted, the cat eventually climbed from the river but not in time. The cat and rat have never been friends again.
The animals were then separated into 2 categories, Yin and Yang, depending on how many hooves, toes or claws they have. Each year alternates between Yin and Yang.
The ‘Year of the Dog’
Within the zodiac, each sign is associated with one of five elements; Gold (Metal), Wood, Water, Fire and Earth. Each element comes around in a 60 year cycle and 2018 brings in the year of the earth dog. According to traditional belief, a lot can be said about your personality according to the animal of your year of birth. The earth dog communitive, serious and responsible in work.
Dogs are loyal, amiable, kind, honest, cautious and prudent. Dogs tend to live a quiet life and sometimes comes across as stubborn, but they will do anything for those most important to them. The luckiest things for dogs are the numbers 3,4 and 9, the colours green, red and purple, roses and cymbidium orchids and their lucky directions are east, south and northeast. Michael Jackson and Madonna are both famous earth dogs.
To all those celebrating New Year, we wish you the best of luck for 2018 and hope you enjoy your celebrations.