Chinese New Year 2013 – Sunday 10th February – Year of the Snake

Have you missed it? Don’t worry Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days!

The Chinese believe that the first king of China was the Yellow King – he became king in 2697 B.C., therefore by the Chinese Calendar, China will enter the 4710th year on February 10, 2013

The Chinese calendar has been in continuous use for centuries. It predates the International Calendar (based on the Gregorian Calendar) in use at the present, which goes back only some 430 years!

Chinese New Year begins according to the Chinese calendar – which consists of both Gregorian and lunar-solar calendar systems. Because the track of the new moon changes from year to year, Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February.

In general people don’t know very much about China (apart from eating pseudo Chinese food)– this is very bad news because China’s growing importance on the world stage means that the West needs to start speaking its language, and get to understand China and its history, culture, institutions and values. It is a country that is increasingly important in the world economy – 30 years ago China’s economy was only one twentieth of the size of the US, but now it is over half. The extent and swiftness of recent change in China astounds us in the West.

In the current international financial crisis the world economy continues to struggle with recession pressures in Europe, a decline in world trade, and slow growth in the US.

The balance of power is shifting from the West to the East and China is at the centre of that: you don’t have to be an economist to predict that as China progresses further it will have the economy and the financial muscle to influence the global situation.
China is home to more people than any other country in the world (1.3 BILLION), who live in the largest land area of all countries except Russia (nearly 10 million square kilometres).

Some years ago I had occasion to visit a ‘high performing’ Secondary School with a strong reputation for languages, and I chatted with the (well established) Headmaster. I asked him about any plans to introduce Mandarin Chinese into their studies (one of our local primary schools actually teaches it). I was shocked that he obviously had never thought about it – so they will be sticking to the old guard of French, German, and Spanish (and the next generation of children will be disenfranchised!).


Well, if you can’t speak the language or learn yet about the culture, perhaps you can enjoy the knowledge of the Chinese zodiac!

There are three ways to name a Chinese year, but the method of ‘by an animal’ is most often used, and as by this system there are 12 animal names, and year names are repeated every 12 years.

The legend behind the Chinese calendar year having an animal named after it stems from when Buddha was about to depart Earth. Before he did so he asked all the animals to come and see him before he departed. Twelve animals came to see him and Buddha honoured each animal with a year.

Another legend surrounding the Chinese New Year is that the cat and rat agreed to go to see Buddha together, but the rat did not wake up the cat in the morning of the meeting. The cat missed seeing Buddha and does not have a year named after him. That is supposed to be why cats do not like rats!

The animal names & characteristics are:

Rat:                quick-witted, smart, charming, and persuasive

Ox:                 patient, kind, stubborn, and conservative

Tiger:             authoritative, emotional, courageous, and intense

Rabbit:          popular, compassionate, and sincere

Dragon:         energetic, fearless, warm-hearted, and charismatic

Snake:           charming, gregarious, introverted, generous, and smart

Horse:           energetic, independent, impatient, and enjoy travelling

Sheep:           mild-mannered, shy, kind, and peace-loving

Monkey:       fun, energetic, and active

Rooster:       independent, practical, hard-working, and observant

Dog:               patient, diligent, generous, faithful, and kind

Pig: loving, tolerant, honest, and appreciative of luxury


                                                              WHAT ARE YOU?


Rat  Ox Tiger Rabbit Dragon Snake Horse Sheep Monkey Rooster Dog Pig
1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911
1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923
1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935
1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947
1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
1960 1961 1962 193 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971
1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983
1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995
1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

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