Origin and traditions
Of all traditional Chinese celebrations, Chinese New Year is the most important one. It dates from the time of the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC-1100 BC) when people worshipped gods and ancestors at the end of the year and the beginning of the new year. It was only much later, that it became a festival to bid farewell to the old year and to welcome the new year. The date of the Chinese New Year is determined by the lunar calendar rather than the solar calendar. The Chinese New Year begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice on 21 December. According to the western solar calendar this is somewhere between January 21 and February 20. In 2018 the Chinese New Year begins on February 17.
The Chinese New Year heralds the beginning of spring and, therefore, it is also called ‘Spring Festival’. With songs and dance people welcome the return of Earth to life and the start of the ploughing and sowing season. In preparation of the New Year celebrations, people buy gifts, decorations, special food and new clothes. On New Year’s Eve (‘chuxi’) the houses are thoroughly cleaned and decorated with paper cut-outs spells and two lyrics expressing happiness, prosperity and longevity.
New Year is a family celebration. Regardless of how far people live from their hometown, they do their utmost to join the reunion dinner with the whole family on New Year’s Eve. Therefore, the entire China is on the move around Chinese New Year. Millions of people travel to their hometowns to celebrate New Year. They visit family, friends and acquaintances to wish each other the best for the New Year. It is a big welcoming party, not just at home with the family, but also on the streets. There is plenty of eating and drinking and a lot of music and hard fireworks.
The Year of the Dog
According to the Chinese Zodiac, February 16, 2018 is the start of the Year of the Dog. The Dog is the eleventh animal in the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of successively Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.
The origin of Chinese astrology goes back thousands of years and is even today practiced and consulted. In contrast to the western astrology, the Chinese astrology has nothing to do with planets or stars. Chinese ‘astrologers’ draw their horoscopes on the basis of the Chinese calendar, the Yin and Yang philosophy of light and darkness and the philosophy of the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water.
People born under the sign of the Dog are, according to Chinese astrology, honest and loyal. They have a strong sense of justice and responsibility, but are also rather traditional and conservative. They are always ready to be of service to others, but sometimes they become too curious and meddling. Dogs have a high opinion of themselves and they can also be very stubborn. When people make remarks, they walk away, scowling and growling. But, in general, Dogs are friendly and loyal. It takes time to win their trust, but if that succeeds, they are ‘loyal as a dog’ in their relationships and dedicated to their family and friends.
Famous people born in the Year of the Dog are: Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, Madonna and Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson and Herman Brood, Joop Zoetemelk and Leontien van Moorsel, Mother Teresa and Michelle Pfeiffer, Floortje Dessing and André Kuipers, Brigitte Bardot and Elvis Presley, Prince William and Benjamin Franklin, Steven Spielberg and Beau van Erven Dorens, Liza Minelli and Wibi Soerjadi, Claudia Schiffer and Simone Kleinsma …
What animal are you?
On the basis of your birth date, you can determine which animal you are according to Chinese astrology. The following table gives an overview of the years 1900 – 2031. Because the Chinese New Year starts in late January or early February, you should further search on the internet, in case you were born in that period.
|Animal||Year of Birth|