IT’S one of the most colourful events in the calendar, when people take to the streets both in China and across the globe.
Unlike our festivities, which always take place at midnight between December 31 and January 1, Chinese New Year is a movable celebration – and it all kicks off in mid-February.
When is the 2018 Chinese New Year?
The 2018 Chinese New Year begins on Friday, February 16.
The celebrations are tipped to last for over two weeks – and if you fancy making a trip before the festivities end, read this guide for a first-timer’s trip to China.
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 the 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 is 2018?
2018 will be 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 12 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.
If you’re feeling confused, calculate your zodiac sign here.
Which Chinese zodiac animal am I?
- 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
What is the Chinese Zodiac story?
Legend has it that, back in the ancient days, the Jade Emperor ordered that animals would become part of the calendar – and that the 12 who arrived first would be selected.
At the time, the cat and the rat were good friends. When they heard the news, the cat said to the rat: “We should arrive early to sign up, but I usually get up late.” The rat promised to wake his pal up so they could go together but, because he was so excited, forgot and went alone. On the way, the rat bumped into the tiger, ox, horse and other animals – who were all much faster than him.
He hatched a plan and convinced the ox to carry him on his back – on the condition that the rat sang throughout the journey.
The ox arrived first, but the rat sneaked in front of him and became the first lucky animal. By the time the cat arrived, the selection was over – which is why the cat hates the rat and will always try to chase and kill him.