Chinese New Year

Topics: Chinese calendar, Chinese New Year, Chinese astrology Pages: 11 (3875 words) Published: February 20, 2013
Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday celebrated among Chinese people. It is often referred to as the spring festival because it signals the beginning of spring. It is a time when families and friends get together to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. It originally lasted for 15 days, but now only lasts for 5 to 7 days. The exact origin of this Chinese New Year holiday is too old to be traced, but many explanations still exist. One idea is that the holiday originated when a beast named Nian (which means year in Chinese) came out the night before the new year and started to prey on the people in the villages. Of course, the people were very frightened by this monster and so a brave old man went up to the beast and said to him that instead of eating the people of the villages, he should eat the other beasts that frightened these people. Nian followed the old man's request and all of the beasts were chased into the forest. The old man rode away on Nian's back, and as it turns out, the man was an immortal god. The people of the village were very grateful to the old man for giving them a peaceful life. Before the old man left for good, he told the people to put up red paper decorations on their windows and doors at the beginning of each new year because the color red scared the beast. They also set off firecrackers to scare away the horrible beast. This is only one idea about how Chinese New Year began, there are many other ideas about how this celebration began. Most people just celebrate the holiday without really knowing why. Another interesting thing about Chinese New Year is that very few people know when this holiday is celebrated without looking at a traditional Chinese calendar because it never falls on the same day. Chinese New Year dates changes every year, and many are still not sure why. I asked myself the same question and finally I figured out. This is because Chinese New year follows the Chinese Lunar Calendar which is different with the western calendar which is the Gregorian Calendar. The first day of Chinese New Year starts on the New Moon closest to spring.

The Chinese calendar is very different from the Western calendar. The primary difference is that the months of the Chinese calendar are directly tied to the phases of the Moon. These phases, however, do not fit in with the length of the year as measured by the Earth’s revolution around the sun. The Western calendar is fixed in the sense that each New Year begins on Solar or in other words, the Western calendar date January first. Because the Chinese New Year must correlate with a moon phase, it falls as early as January 22nd and as late as February 19th on the Western calendar. This has significant implications for Chinese Astrology. First, however, it’s important to understand the primary difference between Chinese and Western astrology. Chinese astrology focuses on the year sign, and Western astrology focuses on the month sign such as Libra, Virgo and etc. However, Chinese Astrology, have month signs. This can be very confusing because the month signs have the same name as the year signs. Furthermore, when we say a Chinese sign corresponds to a Western sign, an example will be an Ox to Capricorn, it does not mean the person was born in a Capricorn month. Rather, we mean the person’s Chinese year-sign traits roughly correspond to the traits of that Western sign. Adding to the confusion is the fact we can’t know a person’s Western sign simply by knowing the person’s Chinese month sign. Let me give you an example, a person born on the first day of the seventh month which means July 1 in Western terminology of the Chinese calendar year 1979 was actually born on August 23rd of the Western calendar. Since July 1st is Cancer and August 23 is Leo, it’s easy to see the confusion. As with the months, neither do Chinese and Western years match exactly. Thus, even though we might know a person’s Chinese sign, we still cannot be sure of their year of...
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