Last year we celebrated the Chinese New Year on the 28th January and it was Year of the Rooster and this year is going to be on the 16th February and it’s a year of Dog.
Why does it fall on a completely different date and why is characterised with a different animal?
The reason is that the Chinese follow the lunar calendar and New Year is on the first new moon of the year which in 2018 is the 16th February.
The Chinese zodiac has 12-year cycles, each “characterised” by a certain animal, and this year will be the turn of the Dog. According to legend the Jade Emperor decided to name the years by the different animals and called 13 of them to the meeting. The years got their name according to their time for arrival. Apparently, the pig got tired during the journey and stopped for a quick snack, eat too much and decided to have a nap. As a result, the pig arrived the last and the last animal listed in 12-year zodiac. A cat was also invited but during the race to the meeting, drowned. Hence 12 animals in zodiac, not 13.
Some people, including me, are confused why Chinese New Year is referred to as the Spring Festival. It’s nothing to do with spring if you celebrate it in the first and coldest month of the year – February! But then the Chinese believe the end of coldest part of the year is behind them and they can start looking forward to the beginning of spring, this view comes from the villages when impatient farmers couldn’t wait to get back in their fields and start working on their crops. Celebrating the Spring Festival gives them encouragement and hope that the long, cold winter days are drawing to an end.
The end of the Chinese New Year is marked by the Lantern Festival which is 14 days from the Chinese New Year.
The Chinese are very superstitious and here are a few things you should not do during Chinese New Year:
- Do not wash your hair or clothes – you may wash away good luck
- Do not eat porridge as it may bring poverty
- Do not take any medications or visit hospitals – it may bring ill health throughout the year
- The rice jar must be full to symbolise prosperity
- Do not wear black or white as these colours represent mortality
- Do not steal, borrow money or kill
If you planning a trip to China, Magical Explorer, one of the oldest tour operator in the UK, would be more then happy to help you with flights, accommodations and sightseeing. All proposals are free of charge. Email us on [email protected] Alternatively check our new website www.magicalexplorer.co.uk