The Chinese New Year is the most celebrated traditional Chinese holiday and that counts for a large fraction of the world’s population. As you search further into the roots of how the holiday came to be, it’s astonishing how influential it is in many countries other than China. In simple terms, the Chinese New Year can be called the new year of the East, and the Roman New Year (January 1st) dominated the Western parts of the globe.
The astute difference between the two new year holidays is the emphasis on mythology and culture. The year you are born determines the animal representation of you in relation to the rest of the world. Many people, including those who do not celebrate the Chinese New Year still enjoy discovering where they stand in the mythical history and what represents their personality.
While the New Year is based on the Julian calendar adopted by Julius Caesar, the Chinese New year has evolved over many dynasties, used as a sociopolitical tool at times. The last revision was made by Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, who affirmed month 1 as the beginning of the year. If history can make people immortal, this is an example of how one man has influenced millions of people to celebrate on an annual date for hundreds of years. And to this day the lunisolar Chinese calendar determines the date of the new year.
There are twelve animals, one for each month. Here’s a quick breakdown so you can see which animal you are in the Chinese Zodiac, which can be referenced at Wikipedia.
Rat: Feb 02 1984 – Feb 19 1985
Ox: Feb 20 1985 – Feb 08 1986
Tiger: Feb 09 1986 – Jan 28 1987
Rabbit: Jan 29 1987 – Feb 16 1988
Dragon: Feb 17 1988 – Feb 05 1989
Snake: Feb 06 1989 – Jan 26 1990
Horse: Jan 27 1990 – Feb 14 1991
Ram: Feb 15 1991 – Feb 03 1992
Monkey: Feb 04 1992 – Jan 22 1993
Rooster: Jan 23 1993 – Feb 09 1994
Dog: Feb 10 1994 – Jan 30 1995
Boar: Jan 31 1995 – Feb 18 1996
And the cycle starts anew with Rat, but beginning at the year 1996. Just add one year to the subsequent animal personality and you can even predict the zodiac signs for people not yet born. For example, after the Rat (1996), it will be Ox carrying on the cycle from 1997.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE BORN AS THE ANIMALS IN THOSE YEARS
Chinese astrology is a significant part of unveiling the meaning behind the births of every human. It is believed that your destiny can be determined by observing the intricate interactions between the planets in the solar system in relation to the sun, moon, and respective Zodiac symbol in the sky. The role of astronomy is a huge part of Chinese culture and different interpretations exist based on the various traditions of the country.
There were five major planets that the ancient astrologers used to further determine the essence of the animal’s personalities: Metal (Venus), Wood (Jupiter), Water (Mercury), Fire (Mars), Earth (Saturn). In addition to the element, all animals are given an orientation in yin and yang, which relates to spiritual life force (chi) and changes of being.
THE CHINESE NEW YEAR ‘TODAY’
The Chinese New Year is one of the best times of the year because there are extravagant parades, festive parties, and a high-spirited appreciation of tradition and family. Many North American areas feature parades, such as California in the US and Vancouver City, Canada. The Chinese New Year remains the most important holiday of China and its influence reaches throughout the world.
If you live in the United States, you should check out cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York to watch the best parades. There are fifteen days of celebration so don’t miss out.