The Chinese New Year is almost here: this year it falls on February 5th, the day in which, according to the Chinese calendar, the new year begins, the Year of the Pig. The Chinese horoscope is based, in fact, on a 12-year cycle, each year corresponding to an animal: in contrast to what happens with the horoscope we’re accustomed to, your zodiac sign is determined by the year in which you were born.
2019 is the Year of the Pig, the zodiac sign which ends the cycle: what will it bring this new year? What does the pig stand for in the Chinese horoscope? And how do they celebrate New Year’s in China? Let’s find out!
The Year of the Pig: what this animal means in the Chinese zodiac
Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig: the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac represent those which are part of people’s daily activities or those which in traditional Chinese culture have important symbolic significance.
Many of the animals in the Chinese horoscope are domestic and have been raised for centuries by the Chinese people, and they represent the importance of the home and wealth: the pig is one such animal, but in addition there’s the horse, the sheep, the rooster, the ox and the dog.
The other animals of the Chinese horoscope represent traditional symbols in the Chinese culture: the dragon is a symbol of good fortune and power; the monkey represents intelligence and cunning; the tiger represents courage, intuition and self-confidence.
But what’s the reason behind the order in which the Chinese zodiac animals alternate? There’s a very precise balance determined by the alternating Yin and Yang which ancient Chinese philosophy explains as the juxtaposition of elements, forces and natural phenomena. The name of this revered symbol contains the two definitions within itself: Yinthe shady side of the hill, and Yang, the sunny side of the hill, two opposite aspects forming one whole and which represent a balance which can be used to explain any force which has two equal but contrary elements.
But let’s get back to 2019, the Year of the Pig: what does this animal symbolise and what traits do people who were born under this sign have? According to the Chinese horoscope the pig is a generous, loving, compassionate, and diligent animal. People born in the Year of the Pig willingly help their fellow man, usually remain calm in the face of difficulty and are very responsible.
But watch out: even though 2019 is the Year of the Pig, contrary to what you’d think, this will not be a very lucky period for those born under this sign. In fact, in Chinese astrology the year of one’s sign is unlucky because it offends the God of Age known as Tai Sui. Who would’ve ever guessed?
Those born in the Year of the Pig need to be careful and remain patient in the face of the difficulties which are coming for them in 2019. But who’s born under this sign? All those born in the following years: 1925, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995 and 2007, because it only happens once every 12 years. A good luck charm could help bring a bit of good fortune to you during the year: pick your favourite and add it to your Composable bracelet!
How is the Chinese New Year celebrated?
Let’s focus on the festivities: the Chinese New Year is a huge event full of colours, fun and tradition. In China the actual name of this holiday is the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year and it signals the beginning of the new year according to the Chinese calendar. It’s a holiday which is actually celebrated in various countries in the Far East, and the tradition has also been imported all over the world wherever large Chinese communities have taken root.
The Chinese New Year is very different from the one celebrated in the Western world: just consider that the festivities last a full two weeks!
Customarily, it’s tradition to dedicate your time to cleaning and sprucing up your house in the days leading up to New Year’s, a gesture which symbolises “sweeping away bad luck”. The proper celebrations begin on New Year’s eve, so this year they start on February 4th: tradition has it that that evening everyone organises an abundant feast to be shared among the whole family.
The house decorations and those in the city streets are also extremely important: lanterns and traditional objects cover the streets, with red everywhere. In fact, this shade brings prosperity and good luck, and it should be worn during this period.
The first day of the year, which in 2019 is the 5th of February, the big celebrations begin, among which is the traditional lion dance , during which performers parade throughout the city in a long lion’s costume, while in the evening there are performances and fireworks which liven up the festivities. The days following are dedicated to family: you spend time together at home and go visit parents and relatives who live elsewhere.
The Chinese New Year’s festivities end on the fifteenth day after New Year’s, which is dedicated to the traditional Lantern Festival. Candles are lit outside each house to attract spirits bringing good fortune, and in the evening families come out of their homes to take a stroll in the dark while carrying a lit lantern. Naturally, this final day of celebration is certainly not without fireworks and performances, like the lion and dragon dances.
Are you ready to jump in and celebrate the fascinating tradition of the Chinese New Year?