Well, according to the Chinese calendar, which consists of both Gregorian and lunar-solar calendar systems, Chinese New Year can begin (because the track of the new moon changes from year to year), anytime between late January and mid-February, can’t it? But this time it is today 28th January.
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 4714th year on January 28, 2017.
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!
In modern times, us ‘light-weights’ in the West celebrate our New Year on the single fixed day of 1st January, while the powerhouse Chinese keep their celebrations going for a full 15 days, don’t they? So, if you missed the first day, don’t worry too much as you’ve still got plenty of time, haven’t you?
Being so far east, China’s New Year’s Day is well over by now, so has already been initially but not finally celebrated, while today in the UK it still continues tonight, but already it has provided special events during the day in many places [with the likes of street celebrations, parades, and Lion & Dragon dances in some major cities, say London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Liverpool, and others].
In the UK, that will certainly continue tomorrow in many communities, and you probably know that red is the Chinese lucky colour, so that will be most prominent, won’t it?
However, most people’s experience of things oriental are limited to enjoying the food from the many restaurants and takeaways of Chinese, Thai, Japanese, South Korean, Singaporean, Indonesian, Malaysian, Vietnamese that abound in the UK, don’t you think? Well, there are some fifteen thousand of them around, with over half of them in London & the SE, eh? [The UK’s Oriental population itself is probably under three hundred and fifty thousand].
Most people don’t do homemade Chinese cooking of course, so may also be hitting the supermarkets for their top offers on ready-meals of Chinese and Asian taste, to feel part of the event, and no doubt trying a glass or two of warm Saki rice wine to wash it down, perhaps? Any excuse, eh?
Apart from all such things, the limit of what most of us know about China is simply that, it is a bloody big country, and there are lots & lots of Chinese workers living there, wouldn’t you say? Yep, while Russia certainly has the greatest land area, it is China that has at ‘one and a half billion’ population (ten times that of Russia), so by a mile far the most people of anywhere in the World, doesn’t it?
Indeed, we all in the UK might think America is all mighty and that Donald Trump is king of the castle (and indeed he naively might think so as well), but in reality, China is a much bigger fish and its rulers are much more powerful and nastier than Trump will ever be, don’t you know?
Probably many of us also have heard that China is a supposedly ‘communist’ country, but maybe don’t know that for some forty years they have actually embraced capitalist and market forces principles to achieve ‘economic growth’ and it has abandoned previous isolationism in favour of an open-door policy to foreign businesses.
It is therefore a country that is increasingly important in the world economy – even thirty years ago, China’s economy was only one twentieth of the size of theUS (which has been largest for well over a hundred years), but now it is expected to even surpass the US next year.
Consequently, while Britain (notwithstanding any adverse effects of BREXIT), will simply continue to muddle-through with very little ‘real’ growth, we can expect China to still achieve substantial growth (over six percent) and so remain Asia’s leader in the growth stakes, ahead of the likes of India, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Hence, China’s has been exercising increasing importance on the world stage, which means that more of us in the West needs to start speaking its language, and quickly to get a better understanding of China, its history, culture, institutions and values, wouldn’t you agree?
Perhaps you already enjoy some knowledge of the Chinese zodiac, but for those who don’t, some information is included here below for your fun :
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 zodiac cycle
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?