Friday, January 31, 2014

Chinese New Year

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Chinese New Year is an important traditional Chinese holiday celebrated on the first day of the year of the Chinese calendar. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year's Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the "Lunar New Year".

The source of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honor deities as well as ancestors. Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Philippines, and also in Chinatowns elsewhere. Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the lunar new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors

Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese new year vary widely. Often, the evening preceding Chinese New Year's Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper cuts and couplets with popular themes of "good fortune" or "happiness", "wealth", and "longevity." Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes.

Although the Chinese calendar traditionally does not use continuously numbered years, outside China its years are often numbered from the reign of the 3rd millennium BC Yellow Emperor. But at least three different years numbered 1 are now used by various scholars, making the year beginning AD 2013 the "Chinese Year" 4711, 4710, or 4650.

New Year dates
Shǔ (Rat)
19 February 1996
7 February 2008
25 January 2020
Niú (Ox)
7 February 1997
26 January 2009
12 February 2021
Hǔ (Tiger)
28 January 1998
14 February 2010
1 February 2022
Tù (Rabbit)
16 February 1999
3 February 2011
22 January 2023
Lóng (Dragon)
5 February 2000
23 January 2012
10 February 2024
Shé (Snake)
24 January 2001
10 February 2013
29 January 2025
Mǎ (Horse)
12 February 2002
31 January 2014
17 February 2026
Yáng (Goat)
1 February 2003
19 February 2015
6 February 2027
Hóu (Monkey)
22 January 2004
8 February 2016
26 January 2028
Jī (Rooster)
9 February 2005
28 January 2017
13 February 2029
Gǒu (Dog)
29 January 2006
16 February 2018
3 February 2030
Zhū (Pig)
18 February 2007
5 February 2019
23 February 2031

The lunisolar Chinese calendar determines the date of Chinese New Year. The calendar is also used in countries that have adopted or have been influenced by many eastern Asian countries such as Korea, Japan and Vietnam.

In the Gregorian calendar, Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year, a date between January 21 and February 20. In the Chinese calendar, winter solstice must occur in the 11th month, which means that Chinese New Year usually falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice (rarely the third if an intercalary month intervenes). In traditional Chinese culture, lichun is a solar term marking the start of spring, which occurs about February 4.

The dates for Chinese New Year from 1996 to 2031 (in the Gregorian calendar) are above, along with the year's presiding animal zodiacand its earthly branch. The names of the Earthly Branches have no English counterparts and are not the Chinese translations of the animals. Alongside the 12-year cycle of the animal zodiac there is a 10-year cycle of heavenly stems. Each of the ten heavenly stems is associated with one of the five elements of Chinese astrology, namely: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. The elements are rotated every two years while a yin and yang association alternates every year. The elements are thus distinguished: Yang Wood, Yin Wood, Yang Fire, Yin Fire, etc. These produce a combined cycle that repeats every 60 years. For example, the year of the Yang Fire Rat occurred in 1936 and in 1996, 60 years apart.

Many confuse their Chinese birth-year with their Gregorian birth-year. As the Chinese New Year starts in late January to mid-February, the Chinese year dates from January 1 until that day in the new Gregorian year remain unchanged from the previous Gregorian year. For example, the 1989 year of the Snake began on February 6, 1989. The year 1990 is considered by some people to be the year of the Horse. However, the 1989 year of the Snake officially ended on February 8, 1990. This means that anyone born from January 1 to February 7, 1990 was actually born in the year of the Snake rather than the year of the Horse. Many online Chinese Sign calculators do not account for the non-alignment of the two calendars, using Gregorian-calendar years rather than official Chinese New Year dates. One scheme of continuously numbered Chinese-calendar years assigns 4709 to the year beginning, 2011, but this is not universally accepted; the calendar is traditionally cyclical, not continuously numbered.

~Blog Admin~

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