February 2, 2011

You may already know that today is Chinese New Year’s Eve and that the year to come is going to be the Year of the Rabbit.  Although I’m a fan of Chinese food I must admit to not being too savvy about Chinese new year and what it involves.  So, I decided that it was time for me to do a little bit of personal research to find out.

First off I talked to a Chinese work colleague for his input – it seemed like the obvious place to start!  I was surprised to learn that the date of New Year changes every year and that it is actually incredibly late this year.  The reason behind this is that every so many years the Chinese year has to have 13 months, to keep it in line with the moon.  Consequentially this year New Year has arrived late.

So going back to the facts: Chinese New Year is often referred to as Lunar New Year because of its link with the moon.  It is the most important of Chinese festivals and even though it occurs during what are the winter months for those of us in the northern hemisphere, it is actually known as a Spring festival in China.  Today, New Year’s Eve, is when Chinese families gather together to celebrate the passing of another year.

Chinese years take the name of an animal and there are twelve of these.  I’ve already mentioned that the year to come will be the Year of the Rabbit, and the year ending was the Year of the Tiger.  I was born in the year of the dog.  Hmm, doesn’t sound too auspicious does it?  But you’d be wrong there.  Apparently people born in the Year of the Dog “possess the best traits of human nature.  They have a deep sense of loyalty, are honest, and inspire other people’s confidence” Now that does sound pretty cool 🙂 but I reckon that if you read about each of the 12 animals you’d probably find a few nice words in all of their descriptions.  I’ve never been quite so convinced on the personality traits of people according to their horoscope sign – although I’m sure there are some truths in there – but segmenting everyone born in an entire year into the same bracket? Hmm, I think that’s even more unreliable to be honest.  But then, what do I know?

There’s lots of information online about this subject and if you’re interested I suggest you start with the Wikipedia page which contains loads of interesting gems.   Me, I think I’ll be planning a Chinese meal out later this week.  Just for research purposes mind, of course 😉


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