Have you ever wondered why Lunar New Year seems to jump around from year to year? Were you confused when people started celebrating the New Year in late January or early February instead of on January first?
The answer to that riddle lies in the phases of the moon. You see, before the globalization of the Gregorian calendar, many Asian countries marked their days according to the phases of the moon and the time of the solar year.
And following this tradition places January 25 as the start of the 2020 Lunar New Year.
Customs Last for Generations
New Year is a cause for joy, celebration, and reunions, bringing families back together. But you can’t just come home and expect a feast!
In order to fully experience New Year festivities, you must help do two things: deep cleaning and food preparation. Families will spend the days leading up to the New Year cleaning their home from top to bottom, and afterwards prepare a delicious feast to celebrate.
But don’t assume every New Year custom to be the same!
Mongolians prepare a big feast table to symbolize fullness and prosperity.
Koreans wear traditional hanbok to perform ancestral rites on New Year’s.
Japanese people send out and receive New Year postcards.
Tibetans hang up new prayer flags on rooftops or mountaintops.
Vietnamese people tell each other stories of past festivals while watching the overnight fire as they prepare food.
Chinese people prepare dishes that are symbolic of their family’s hopes for the New Year: prosperity, happiness, good health, peace, and fortune.
The Zodiac Craze
If you’ve heard anything about Lunar New Year, then you’ve definitely heard about Chinese zodiac animals. But what are they really? And why do people keep talking about them?
Chinese zodiac animals are similar to Western zodiac symbols in concept. They are often used to describe personality traits, and predict compatibility with others. The difference is that the twelve animals correspond to one year of a repeating twelve year cycle instead of representing one month per year.
Chinese astrologers will determine a person’s destiny, upcoming hardships, and fortune with signs from the stars and help from the Zodiac animals. It’s a complicated system, but somehow it works.
The order of the Chinese Zodiac animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
Click here to find out your Zodiac sign: https://chinesenewyear.net/zodiac/
Year of the Rat
Rats are often viewed very negatively as animals living in the wild. It’s easier to describe the bad traits at first glance, but when you dive deeper, there is more to them than just their appearance. As the first animal of the Zodiac, the rat is actually a lucky animal, representing wisdom, independence, intelligence, and success.
But how can you determine that from such a small animal? Well, Zodiac animals are used to explain personality traits, and this is rooted in observation and perception. With deeper research, you can understand why your Zodiac animal bests represents you.
People born in the year of the rat are said to be optimistic, clever, energetic, and quick thinkers. Their strengths include being alert, adaptable, and observant. Some weaknesses include being stubborn, timid, and shortsighted.
Recent Years of the Rat: 1900, 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020.
Most compatible with: Ox, Dragon, Monkey
Least compatible with: Horse, Goat, and Rabbit
Famous Celebrities Born in the Year of the Rat: Bono, Colin Firth, Donna Summer, Eminem, George Washington, Lorde, Loretta Young, Rosa Parks, Scarlett Johansson, Shaquille O’Neal, T. S. Eliot, Terry Pratchet, Tom Holland, William Shakespeare
2019 Sacramento Walk of Stars Honoree: Summer Sanders (Olympic Gold Medalist, Sports Commentator and TV Show Host)
The Meaning of New Year
Lunar New Year is a grand day of excitement and celebration. It’s an important time to reunite with family, have fun with friends, and start a new journey of growth. Each Asian culture has their own unique customs, values, and traditions. But you don’t have to be Asian to understand the meaning of Lunar New Year.
Come celebrate this festive occasion with us on Thursday, January 23, 2020 at our Annual Lunar New Year Mixer hosted by Aji Dori.
Register here: 2020sacclunarnewyear.eventbrite.com
Interested in learning more? Click the links below for more information:
Chinese New Year - https://chinesenewyear.net/
Japanese New Year - https://asiasociety.org/education/japanese-new-year
Korean New Year - http://crazykoreancooking.com/foodandculture/seollal-korean-lunar-new-year-traditions-and-food
Mongolian New Year - https://www.discovermongolia.mn/blogs/tsagaan-sar-a-national-holiday-of-mongolia
Tibetan New Year - https://www.tibettravel.org/tibetan-festivals/tibetan-new-year.html
Vietnamese New Year - http://www.lafairy-sails.com/en/blog/all-about-traditions-of-tet-the-vietnamese-lunar-new-year.htm
On This Day - https://www.onthisday.com/people/chinese-zodiac/rat
Royal Garden - http://theroyalgarden.co.uk/chinese-zodiac/
Your Chinese Astrology - https://www.yourchineseastrology.com/zodiac/rat.htm