The Lunar New Year, most commonly associated with the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, typically falls sometime between January 21 and February 20 annually. Lunar New Year 2021 is on February 12, and in terms of the Chinese zodiac animal, it’s the Year of the Ox.
The Lunar New Year isn’t only observed in China, it’s celebrated across several countries and other territories in Asia, including South Korea and Singapore. In Vietnam, Lunar New Year is known as Tết, and in Tibet it’s Losar. In the U.S., though, it’s most commonly associated with what’s often called Chinese New Year, the American version of China’s 15-day-long festivities.
The Rat is the first of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. The Rat tricked the Ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived at the finish line, Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox, becoming first.
The Rat is also associated with the Earthly Branch (地支—dì zhī) Zi (子) and the midnight hours. In the terms of yin and yang (阴阳—yīn yáng), the Rat is yang and represents the beginning of a new day.
In Chinese culture, rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Because of their reproduction rate, married couples also prayed to them for children.
Optimistic and energetic, people born in the Rat year are likable by all. They are sensitive to other’s emotions but are stubborn with your opinion. Their personality is kind, but due to weak communication skills, their words may seem impolite and rude.
On the financial side, they like saving and can be stingy. However, their love for hoarding will sometimes cause them to waste money on unnecessary things.
Our computer class students put together a snazzy series of descriptions/explanations of Lunar New Year, often called Chinese New Year. Here’s one sample – and make sure to take the quiz afterwards to test your comprehension!
Chinese New Year
Fen Fen Liang
Chinese New Year is important for Chinese people. For Chinese New Year, there are a lot of things to celebrate. Before New Year’s Eve, we usually clean the house seriously. This symbolizes throwing away bad things from the last year and greeting good things in the coming year. After we clean the house, we usually paste many spring festival scrolls on the wall, in front of the door or anywhere we want to paste them. The words on the spring festival scrolls are wishes. Spring festival scrolls are red; red means luck.
I usually have New Year’s Eve dinner with my family. I have a big family, so my mother makes a lot of food for the dinner. Before we start to have the New Year’s Eve Dinner, we need to pray. During dinner we talk about many things, about jobs, kids, studies, the last year, the coming year and so on. After dinner we set off firecrackers, and we play cards or mahjong. Children get red envelopes from their older, married relatives. Some adults give red envelopes to their elders also, like their father, mother, grandfather or grandmother.
Chinese New Year is interesting. One, two or more lions dance together. The lions are not real lions, they are people in costume. This costume is to throw out bad luck. When the lions are coming you need to give them candy, oranges, lettuce and red envelopes. Children like the lion dances, firecrackers and red envelopes.