Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is the most important annual holiday in China and other countries in East Asia. It is also sometimes known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival because it traditionally marks the end of the cold winter and the beginning of the warm spring. It is believed the celebration of Chinese New Year goes back over 4,000 years, making it one of the longest-standing and most widely celebrated holidays.

Chinese New Year starts on the first day of the first lunar month of the Chinese calendar, which this year will be on February 12th, 2021. The celebratory period lasts for approximately 15 days, ending on the day of the full moon—the Lantern Festival. Chinese New Year is a time for family reunions, decorations, offering of prayers to deities and ancestors, gift-giving, and of course, the traditional Chinese zodiac animals.

Origin of the Chinese Zodiac Animals

The Chinese zodiac is made up of 12 animals—the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. According to Chinese mythology, the zodiac was created by the Jade Emperor, the ruler of Heaven, in a competition among animals.

Legend states that each animal had a chance to cross a wide river to settle on the Emperor’s side. The first twelve animals to cross the river won the race, with the rat being the first to cross. As a reward, each animal was then given its own year in the 12 cycle of the Chinese zodiac. Each animal is associated with certain traits and this cycle is repeated every 12 years.

Find Out Your Spirit Animal of the Year

If you want to know what your spirit animal is for this Chinese New Year, then you first need to find out your year of birth using the Chinese calendar. To make things a bit easier, there are a few simple questions you can answer in order to find out which animal is yours:

• If you’re female, what was the year you were born?

• If you’re male, what was the year your father was born?

• If you’re an adult, what was the year your spouse was born?

Once you’ve identified your year of birth, it’s time to determine your spirit animal from the list below.

• Rat: 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008

• Ox: 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961,1973, 1985, 1997, 2009

• Tiger: 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010

• Rabbit: 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011

• Dragon: 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012

• Snake: 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013

• Horse: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014

• Goat: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015

• Monkey: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956,1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016

• Rooster: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017

• Dog: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018

• Pig: 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019

Interpreting the Symbolism of Each Animal

Now that you know what your animal is, let’s take a closer look at its symbolism and what it could mean for you this year.

• The Rat is a symbol of wealth and surplus, while the Ox is a sign of fortitude and hard work.

• The Tiger symbolizes courage and strength, and the Rabbit is seen as a sign of luck and prosperity.

• The Dragon is connected to power and nobility, and the Snake is associated with intelligence and wisdom.

• The Horse signifies success through hard work, and the Goat stands for peacefulness and harmony.

• The Monkey is a sign of curiosity and mischievousness, and the Rooster represents punctuality and precision.

• The Dog stands for loyalty and dedication, and the Pig is seen as a sign of wealth and generosity.

Chinese New Year Superstitions

There are many superstitions related to Chinese New Year, from what sort of decorations you should use, to the clothes you should wear and which activities are lucky. Here are a few of the most popular Chinese New Year superstitions:

• Avoid saying negative words or speaking ill of others during the festivity as it is said that whatever you say during this time will come true all year round.

• Wear red clothing to ward off evil, as it’s thought to bring good luck.

• Eat oranges and tangerines as they symbolize wealth and good luck.

• Decorate your home with traditional Chinese New Year plants such as plum blossoms, peach blossoms, and Chinese lanterns to attract good luck.

• Clean your house on the eve of Chinese New Year to symbolically remove any bad luck or misfortune.

• Don’t cry, as it is believed that if you cry you will be crying for the rest of the year.

Chinese New Year is a wonderful time to celebrate, reconnect with family and friends, and look to the future. By taking the time to find out your spirit animal of the year, you can gain more insight into the traits and feelings associated with it, and also learn more about the customs and superstitions associated with this fun and festive holiday.

No matter which animal you identify with this year, the important thing is to enjoy the festivities and make the most of the opportunities it offers. Have a very happy and prosperous Chinese New Year!