Culture

8 Facts About Chinese New Year: The Year of the Dog.

It's the year to spread the love and get shit done.

While New Years for those of us that celebrate on the Gregorian (solar) Calendar is old news, Chinese New Year (which works on the lunar calendar) kicks off on February 16th.

Looking for a fresh start, here’s your chance (because who doesn’t want to start fresh after the shit show that was January 2018).

8 Facts about Chinese New Year:

  1. It lasts for 15 days. The first day is marked with firework displays that go off at midnight- keep in mind that fireworks originated in Ancient China so no other nation does it better! Millions of people across the world watch these. Parades with lion and dragon dances are held, as symbols of good luck and prosperity . On the last day, the Festival of Lanterns occurs during the full moon where red lanterns light up the night sky.
  2. Red envelopes are given to children and teenagers, with good luck money, that is thought to give abundance, prosperity, and good luck. Red envelopes also feature in other celebrations like birthdays and weddings.
  3. Throughout Chinese New Year, family dinners are a common theme with some families rotating dinners at each household. On the first day, a Reunion Dinner is held which Chinese people travel from all over the world home to celebrate with loved ones.
  4. Before Chinese New Year families get together to clean up their houses. This is known as “sweeping the dust”. This tradition is thought to get rid of any bad juju for the New Year and “to sweep the bad luck away and make room for the good.” Why not try it out, declutter and reflect, to give your 2018 renewed and fresh energy.
  5. Mandarin oranges, tangerines, grapes to name a few symbolize ‘luck and fortune’. Plants like bamboo, sakura blossoms, peonies, flamingo lilies and more are seen as lucky and symbolize unique things. Bring that fresh energy into your home with flower arrangements and fruit bowls, if only because it looks pretty AF.
  6. Chinese houses and streets are decorated in gold and red with lanterns, new year symbols, images of the zodiac sign of the year and Door God symbols (which are thought to protect houses from evil spirits). It’s quite fucking beautiful.
  7. A very important tradition is offering sacrifice to ancestors which can happen in many ways but most commonly ‘family members kneel and bow in front of the wall-mounted shrine or grave’ and offer ‘meat, wine, joss sticks and joss paper’ to show ‘respect, piety, and missing of departed relatives’.
  8.  8 is a very lucky number in China so most people return to work and businesses reopen on the 8th day.

🎊 #happynewyear #Chinesenewyear #newyearscrolls #福 #red

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Each Chinese New Year is associated with the Chinese zodiac sign of that year. There are 12 Chinese zodiac signs, and they run by year instead of month. Each sign is also associated with an element of that year. If you were born in the years  1958 (earth), 1970 (metal), 1982 (water), 1994 (wood), 2006 (fire), and yes, 2018 (earth), then you are a Dog.

Well it’s your lucky (or unlucky to some) year, because 2018 is the Chinese Year of the Dog. The Earth Dog to be exact, so if you were born in 1958, the year could affect you even more specifically. Read more about the Dog here.

Here’s how the year of the Wood Dog will affect Dogs and the world:

The Chinese Zodiac predicts that it’s ‘going to be a good year in all respects, but it will also be an exhausting year. You will be happy, yet frustrated, rested, yet tired, cheerful, yet dull!’ So not confusing at all! But overall, positive. *perspective, guys*

Dogs are ‘associated with loyalty, honesty, intelligence, and a strong sense of right and wrong’ says Chinese astrologer Laura Lau. They are fans of justice and so injustice affects them more than others.

Many believe that the Year of the Dog will be a positive one politically with social causes taking center stage. ‘Many voices around the world rise to highlight the importance of the universal values of dialogue and solidarity‘, KarmaWeather predicts. A good thing for movements like #TimesUp and others that gain momentum over the course of the year. There is a hope that governments will more strongly reflect these sentiments: ‘Controversial issues are given their due, revolutions are successful, politics are liberal, and political oppression is opposed.’, says astrologist Susan Levitt.

The Earth (or wood) element lends a calmer approach to justice-centred efforts. This means we can more objectively focus our energies. ‘This element encourages us to take a cooler-headed approach to problems, rather than letting our emotions flare up and get the better of our reasoning.’

2018 will be a ‘good time for lifestyle changes (time to quit smoking or change residence) and for the start of new business ventures.’ However there will be periods of ” loneliness or transient melancholy”. But hey, a little self-reflection never hurt nobody. With money, those who show ‘solidarity and brotherhood’ will flourish.

It’s important to remember this year that ‘success, in love as in work, depends primarily on the quality of the communication between people’ and we will feel themes of selflessness and generosity. In other words it’s going to be a year of reflection and positive changes with a theme of empathy, generosity and social consciousness.

While it may be the Dog Year, it may be a more challenging time for Dogs themselves, as is commonly believed in Chinese tradition. However, ‘if you’re wise enough to adapt yourself to new challenges that arise, you’ll strengthen your character’. The Chinese Zodiac predicts love will flourish during this period for Dogs. Be wise with your cash and limit lavish luxuries.

Refinery 29 sums it up as ‘a great time to reach out to those around you and become a friendly presence in their lives, if not a true friend’. All zodiac signs are warned to watch their health so rest up, because it looks like it’s going to be a very eventful one. ‘It’s a favorable time for new ventures’, according to Bustle, ‘so believe in yourself and your dreams.’

Want to read up on your Chinese Zodiac predictions? This site offers an in-depth look at Chinese New Year predictions for all 12 signs.

Feature image: via