Tuesday February 5th marks the start of the Chinese New Year, and this year is the year of the pig.
What is the Chinese New Year?
The traditional Chinese calendar is based off the lunar calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar that we use in the west. This means that the date of the New Year changes frequently, but it usually falls between January and mid-February.
Despite most of China now using the Gregorian calendar rather than the lunar calendar, the Chinese New Year is still the biggest celebration of the year.
Also known as the Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year is a celebration of the end of the coldest days and marks the new beginnings that the fresh spring harvest brings with it.
Why is Each Year a Different Animal?
Just like we have 12 zodiac signs here in the west, the Chinese also have 12 zodiac signs, but each one lasts for a full 12 months instead of alternating throughout the year. It is thought that some form of a zodiac system has existed in China since the Qin Dynasty over 2,000 years ago.
What do the Signs Mean?
The year you are born in dictates which zodiac sign you will be assigned to which in turn determines the traits you may inherit, your best career fit, your relationship status and your wealth.
Although in western culture we deem the time of our zodiac sign to bring us luck, the year of your zodiac sign in the Chinese calendar is thought to be the unluckiest year of all for you. It is common for people to decorate their homes with red or to wear red throughout their zodiac year to ward off bad spirits and unlucky vibes.
What birth years are included in the Year of the Pig?
The year of the pig relates to people born on every twelfth year from 1923 onwards.
Traits attributed to those born in the year of the pig include being logical thinkers and excellent problem solvers, as well as being kind natured and wealthy. The downsides to those born in this year are their lack of communication skills and easy loss of temper.
Those born in the year of the pig are best matched with those born in the year of the tiger but are most incompatible with those born in the year of the snake.
Are there any Spring Festival Traditions?
The Chinese New Year is based on age-old traditions that see families and friends reunite for a few days of continual celebration.
Red is seen as a lucky colour in Chinese culture as it is thought it keeps mean spirits and bad luck at bay. This is why around the time of the new year many people decorate their homes with red items and also wear red during the holiday.
Prior to the first day of the Spring Festival there is a day dedicated to cleaning. People deep clean their homes as a way of sweeping away the bad luck from the year before.
Cleaning and sweeping do not resume until the fifth day of the holiday in order to avoid washing away the good luck that the new year brings. It is even deemed bad luck to shower on New Year’s Day!
In the same way that children in the west receive gifts on momentous holidays, Chinese children also get presents in the form of red envelopes.
The envelopes are filled with money and are given from elders to younger generations in order to pass down wealth and good fortune.
When does the Chinese New Year End?
The Chinese New Year ends with the first full moon of the lunar year. This means the celebrations usually last for around 15 days or so, but it varies year on year.
The team here at ELF would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone who celebrates the Spring Festival a prosperous and happy new year.
At Early Learning Furniture we are experts in early years’ education resources including classroom furniture, school dining furniture and school play equipment. For more information about our products please contact us or call us on 01733 51112.