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?