The celebrations for Chinese New Year 2018, also known as the Spring Festival, began on Friday. Each Chinese year is represented by an animal in the Chinese zodiac, so today marks the beggining of year of the dog.
The festival lasts 15 days with families celebrating with huge feasts, parties, dressing up and taking part in street parades. In 2018, Chinese New Year begins on February 16th and ends March 2nd.
The New Year festival is centuries old and associated with several myths and customs. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honour deities as well as ancestors. Often, the evening preceding Lunar New Year's Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly clean the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck.
Important dates and their significance:
|February 8th||Little Year|
|February 15th||New Year's Eve|
|February 16th||Spring Festival|
|February 17th||To the in-law’s|
|February 18th||Day of the Rat|
|February 19th||Day of the Sheep|
|February 20th||Break Five|
|February 21th||Day of the Horse|
|February 22th||Day of the Human|
|February 23th||Day of the Millet|
|February 24th||Providence Health|
|February 25th||Stone Festival|
|February 26th||Son-in-law Day|
|February 27th - March 1st||Lantern Festival Preperations|
|March 2nd||Lantern Festival|
The general consensus is that the zodiacs originally had something to do with the worship of animals. A zodiac system has existed in Chinese culture since the Qin dynasty, more than 2,000 years ago. Over time the zodiacs became more and more integrated into everyday life, with different meanings and characteristics assigned to each animal. This in turn gave rise to various compatabilities (and incompatabilities) between each zodiac, and play a major role in marriage and career decisions, fortune-telling and more. The zodiac cycle repeats every 12 years.
For example, those born in the year of the dog are said to get on well with those born in the year of the tiger, rabbit and horse but not with those born in the year of the rooster, goat, dragon or ox.
Here is a list of animals in Chinese zodiac (in order):