HAPPY Chinese New Year! One of the world’s most colourful and exuberant events is triggering celebrations across the globe.
Unlike our festivities, which always take place at midnight between December 31 and January 1, Chinese New Year varies each year – here’s the lowdown on the Year of the Dog…
In 2018, Chinese New Year fell on February 16
When is Chinese New Year 2018?
The 2018 Chinese New Year began on Friday, February 16. The celebrations will last for over two weeks.
Chinese New Year takes place on a different date each year because it is based on the lunar calendar.
New Year’s Day normally falls between January 21 and February 20.
How is Chinese New Year celebrated?
The global celebrations are an explosion of light and sound, involving bell ringing, lighting firecrackers and watching traditional lion dances.
Chinese families gather together for a reunion dinner on New Year’s Eve, and clean their houses to sweep away bad fortune on New Year’s Day.
Traditionally, kids would be given red envelopes stuffed with ‘lucky money’ and positive wishes on New Year’s Day.
Some teens now have red envelope apps, so their relatives can transfer cash digitally.
Which animal represents 2018?
2018 is the Year of the Dog.
The Chinese zodiac moves in a 12-year cycle, and those born in 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, and 2018 are also known as Dogs.
According to the Asian astrology, your year of birth – and the animal this represents – determines a lot about your personality traits.
Although each of the twelve animals gets an outing every dozen years, there are different varieties – and 2018 will be the first Year of the Earth Dog since 1958.
Anyone born in an Earth Dog year will be communicative, serious, and responsible in the workplace.
Which Chinese zodiac animal am I?
The Chinese animal zodiac or shengxiao, which means ‘born resembling’, are arranged in a repeating cycle of 12 years.
The animal changes at the beginning of the Chinese New Year, and traditionally these animals were used to date the years.
However, Chinese New Year is a movable celebration, dictated by the lunar cycle, which can fall anytime between January 21 and February 20.
This year, for example, it will be celebrated on Friday, 16th February.
- Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960
- Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961
- Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962
- Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963
- Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964
- Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965
- Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966
- Goat: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967
- Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968
- Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969
- Dog: 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958
- Pig: 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959
How are the Chinese New Year animals decided?
The choice of animals is significant – the ox, horse, goat, rooster, pig, and dog are six of the main domestic animals raised by Chinese people.
While the rat, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake and monkey are all loved by the Chinese.
The animals were separated into two categories – yin and yang – depending on whether they have an odd or even number of claws, toes or hooves.
They were then arranged into an alternating yin and yang sequence.
It’s a little-known fact that the zodiac animals can also be used to tell the time. Here’s how the Chinese clock works:
The Chinese clock
- Rat: 11pm-1am
- Ox: 1am-3am
- Tiger: 3am-5am
- Rabbit: 5am-7am
- Dragon: 7am-9am
- Snake: 9am-11am
- Horse: 11am-1pm
- Goat: 1pm-3pm
- Monkey: 3pm-5pm
- Rooster: 5pm-7pm
- Dog: 7pm-9pm
- Pig: 9pm-11pm
Origin of the zodiacs
One legend says that the Jade Emperor (玉皇大帝—yù huáng dà dì) needed to choose 12 animals as palace guards. The Cat asked his neighbor Rat to help him sign up. Rat forgot, which is why they became mortal enemies.
At the palace, Ox was first in line, but Rat secretly climbed onto Ox’s back and jumped in front of him. Tiger and Dragon thought it was unfair, but they could only settle behind Ox. Rabbit found it unfair too. He wanted to race with Dragon and succeeded.
This angered Dog, who bit Rabbit in a fit and was sent to the back as punishment. Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey and Rooster fought amongst themselves as well. Pig came late, after everything was finally settled, and could only be the last.
Of course, this is only a story. Cats didn’t even exist in China when zodiac animals first came about.