January 25th, the Lunar New Year, rang in the beginning of a new 12 year cycle of the Chinese calendar and involves celebrations and festivals that will continue through February 8th.
The Chinese Zodiac, dating back to as early as 222B.C., differs from the Western Zodiac in that it doesn’t equate to specific constellations but, instead, is based on ancient astronomical observations of Jupiter’s approximately 12-year orbit of the Sun, with rotating symbols of the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.
2020 is the year of the Rat. The Chinese Zodiac also couples the relative animal with one of the five rotating elements. Further making this year the year of the Metal Rat.
What does that mean?
The Rat represents new beginnings, fertility, wealth, and modes of being plentiful, all of which lead to the prediction of 2020 being a year of renewal and a chance to choose recognizing the fortune in even the most unfortunate of events. The metal component indicates idealistic thought, vivid visions and intense emotions.
Fun facts about the Chinese New Year:
- There is no set date for the Chinese New Year. It can range from January 21st to February 20th.
- The Spring Festival, one of the largest parts of the celebration, was originally created to created to honor and pray to the gods and ancestors for a good planting and harvest season.
- The largest human migration in the world (called chunyun) occurs on the eve of the Chinese New Year, as one of its core values is rooted in the family dinner on that day
- Also on the eve, more fireworks are set off than for any other day or celebration in the whole world.
What you can do to celebrate the Chinese New Year:
- Clear clutter from last year, both internally (emotionally/mentally) and externally (material items)
- Have a reunion dinner. Kick it up a notch by including dumplings (a staple of the celebration)
- During the Lunar New Year, streets, storefronts and homes are brightened up with color, especially reds, oranges and yellows. Show your spirit by doing the same in your days.
- Share the wealth with loved ones, to symbolize Hongbao, with red envelopes of abundance