Tag Archives: Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year 2013

Year of the Snake

Year of the Snake

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

Today (Sunday, February 10, 2013) is the first day of this important annual celebration marking the start of the new year according to the Chinese lunisolar calendar. The holiday is also known as the Spring Festival because in pre-modern times it was the seasonal sign that farmers in China had to start sowing their fields.

The date usually falls in the months of January or February and each new year is represented by one of the twelve creatures of the Chinese Zodiac. 2013 is the year of the Snake, also called the Junior Dragon. According to ancient Chinese wisdom, a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means that the family will not starve.

People born under the sign of the snake (1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013) share certain personality characteristics. They are said to be cunning, thoughtful and wise. They are also great mediators and good at doing business.

The characteristics of the Snake are tempered by one of the 5 Chinese elements of Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth overlaying a 5-year cycle of characteristics on the original 12-year cycle.

In 2013, that element is water. Water Snakes are influential and insightful. They are good at managing others, are motivated, intellectual, determined and resolute about being successful at whatever they do. Although they are affectionate with family and friends, they tend to hide this side of their personality from colleagues or business partners.

More than a billion people around the world will be ushering in the Year of the Snake with festivities that last for a few weeks after new year’s day.

Not only is holiday celebrated in China, but also in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, including Taiwan, Macau, Mauritius, Philippines,Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, as well as in Chinatowns  everywhere from Canada to the US to Africa to Australia.

Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese new year vary widely. People will pour out their money to buy presents, decoration, material, food, and clothing. 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 cutouts and Chinese poetry about good fortune, happiness, wealth and longevity.

Typically on New Year’s eve, Chinese families gather for the annual reunion dinner which is a big feast. Dishes include pork, duck, chicken, sweet delicacies as well as fish. The tradition is that the fish is not finished during the meal, so that it can be stored overnight – a belief that the years will be blessed and profitable. Families end the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning, children greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes. The Chinese New Year tradition is to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.

Celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year’s Day itself to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese calendar.

We wish a happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful year to all!


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Filed under China, Chinese New Year 2013, Chinese Zodiac, Rabbit in the Moon by Deborah and Joel Shlian, Year of the Snake

Happy Chinese New Year 2012!!


Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Chinese Lunar New Year, the longest and most important Chinese festival.  It is also the oldest in chronological recorded history, dating from 2600 BC when the Emperor Huang Ti introduced the first cycle of the zodiac. Like the Western calendar, The Chinese Lunar Calendar is a yearly one, with the start of the lunar year being based on the moon’s cycles. Because of this cyclical dating, the beginning of the year can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February.

Lasting 15 days, this year it will begin on January 23 (the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar) and end with the Lantern Festival on February 9th. A complete cycle takes 60 years and is made up of five cycles of 12 years each.

The Chinese Lunar Calendar names each of the twelve years after an animal. Legend has it that the Lord Buddha summoned all the animals just before he departed from earth, but only twelve came. As a reward he named a year after each one in the order they arrived. The Chinese believe the animal ruling the year in which a person is born has a profound influence on personality, saying: “This is the animal that hides in your heart.”

This Lunar year, 4709 is the Year of the Water Dragon.  Fifth in the astrological cycle, Dragon Years follow the Rabbit and recur every twelfth year.

Anyone born in 1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000 or 2012 is born under the sign of the Dragon.

According to the Chinese, anyone born under the Dragon Sign tends to be a free sprit- innovative, passionate, enterprising, flexible, self-assured, conceited, tactless, quick-tempered and brave.

These personality characteristics are then modified by one of the five Chinese elements of Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth which overlay a 5-year cycle of their own characteristics.

For 2012, that element is Water. Water is said to have a calming effect on the Dragon’s fearless temperament. It allows the Dragon to re-direct its passionate enthusiasm, making him or her a little less conceited, perhaps more perceptive of others. Because Water Dragons are also less quick tempered than others born under the Dragon sign, they are better able to take a step back and re-evaluate a situation. As a result, they tend to make intelligent decisions and deal well with others. Still, they need to learn to take their time and complete one project before starting another.

1952 was the last Water Dragon Year and produced such famous people as the leaders of Russia (Putin) and Singapore (Lee), a tennis champion (Connors), innovator (Craig Newmark, the founder of Craig’s list) and a host of CEOs of such companies as Coca Cola, Exxon-Mobil, Alberto-Culver, Time Warner, Colgate-Palmolive, Viacom, UPS, Radio Shack, Clorox, Tiffany & Company, Hershey, ITT, Macy’s, Xerox, and Walgreens.

The Dragon is the major symbol of good fortune and intense power in Chinese Astrology. For example, the Dragon constellation is accorded the honor of being the guardian of the Eastern sky. According to tradition, the Dragon brings in the Four Blessings of the East: Wealth, virtue, harmony, and longevity. Therefore people born in Dragon years are to be honored and respected.

While the other 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac are earthly animals, the Dragon is a mystical being and therefore special. Sometimes called a karmic sign, it is expected to portend larger than life events (like the dragon itself) for the year. That means spectacular successes as well as crash-and-burn failures.
The Dragon is not, however, just about money. It can also bring new love or renew an old romance. So this is a good year for engagements and weddings.

Chinese New Year is not only celebrated in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Tibet or Taiwan. Countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, as well as in Chinatowns elsewhere. This holiday has even had influence on the lunar new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors, as well as cultures with whom the Chinese have had extensive interaction including Korea (Seolial), Bhutan (Losar), Mongolia (Tasgaan Sar). Vietnam (Tet), and the Japanese prior to 1873 (Oshogatsu).

We’ll be heading for some of these places next week to document how Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, China and Hong Kong celebrate. Stay tuned!

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Happy Year of the Rabbit 2011

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year 2011!! The Year of the Rabbit begins tomorrow on February 3, 2011 and ends on January 22, 2012.

Anyone born in 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999 or 2011 is born under the sign of the Rabbit.

As many of you who have already read our international thriller, Rabbit in the Moon by Deborah and Joel Shlian know, the Rabbit, or Hare as it is referred to in Chinese mythology is the symbol of longevity. It is the 4th of the 12 animal signs of the Chinese Zodiac. And is said to derive its essence from the Moon

In our novel, Dr. Lili Quan’s mother was born under this sign and was typical of such individuals – reserved and introverted.  But she was also a friendly person who liked the company of good friends.

Good news for a troubled world: according to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit heralds a year in which you should take a deep breath, and calmly approach problems that arise with the goal of creating a safe, peaceful life.  Trying to force issues will only bring failure. Negotiation is a much more effective approach to problem solving. This is a year to focus on home and family.

As a symbol of the Moon, the Rabbit represents the Yin, while the Peacock, symbol of the Sun, represents the Yang of life. In the Year of the Rabbit, the wish-granting aspect of the Sun and the Moon combined is extremely strong.  It is said that on each of the full moon nights during this year, if you go into your garden to gaze into the full moon, visualize plenty of moon energy flowing into you and you will strengthen your inner energy (Chi). Not only will be granted fearlessness, love and courage but this will also bring wisdom into your life.

We wish that and more for all of you this year!!

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Filed under Chinese New year 2011, Chinese Zodiac, Rabbit in the Moon