Year of the Rooster

Although many of us have already celebrated the new year on January 1, the party isn't over for everyone!  It's almost time for the Chinese New Year, also called the Lunar New Year, which is the largest holiday celebration on the Chinese calendar.  A re-start to your already lost resolutions, perhaps?!  Oh yes those things you forgot about already....

The Chinese New Year is going to be celebrated on Saturday, January 28, the date that marks the beginning of year 4715 of the Chinese calendar.  But there's a lot of events surrounding that particular date so I highly recommend seeing what's available in your local area in the coming weeks.  I'm (clearly) not Chinese, but I have been to Chinatown for the parade in years past; it's such a fun celebration.  Chicago's Chinatown is just south of the loop, and the parade is on February 5th this year.  They have floats, performers, and the 100 foot paper dragon.

Although we celebrate the day here in the states with parades and fireworks, the New Year festival is centuries old in China and has all the traditions to go with it.  These vary by area, but there is generally a family reunion dinner the day before the New Year, and every family takes this time to fully clean the house - to sweep away any ill-fortune and make way for good luck.  Red is a lucky color and one that wards off bad luck, which is why you'll see so many red decorations in homes and shops.  Another widespread tradition is that of the Lantern Festival, celebrated on the 15th day of the new year.

2017 is the year of the rooster.  The Chinese zodiac is a little different than what we're used to with the celestial zodiac signs that correspond with what 'star' you were born under.  There's 12 animals, but they're based on years, not months and lunar cycles like the zodiac signs we're used to, and they repeat in a 12 year cycle.  In order, the 12 animals are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.  But roosters beware!  You're actually supposed to have bad luck when it's your year.  Have someone older than you gift you something red to wear to ward off bad luck.

I'm a rat, by the way!  I was born in November of 1984, a year of the rat.  However, since the Chinese new year falls between January 21 and February 21, not every 1984 baby is a rat.  If you have an early 1985 birthday, you would be a rat still.  If you have an early 1984 birthday, you'd be the 1983 animal, the pig.  You can calculate exactly which animal you are by entering your birth date here.

That website has all sorts of info on how those animals were chosen and why they're in that particular order.  And once you find your animal, you can find out your lucky numbers and colors and all about your personality.  Like being an ESTJ, a Scorpio, etc etc, I also fully find the things that are said about being a rat to be true to me as well.  Guess what's listed under best-suited rat careers?  Lawyer.  Of course.  I also found it adorable that a best love match for rats is the rabbit, which is what John is. #awww.  Overall, rats are said to be 'intelligent, charming, quick-witted, practical, ambitious, and good at economizing as well as social activities. The weaknesses are that the Rats are likely to be timid, stubborn, wordy, greedy, devious, too eager for power and love to gossip.' Kind of sounds like my ESTJ assessment, no? They also further break down the animals by 5 elements, so each element would only come around every 60 years.  1984 is a wood rat, and we're 'independent, self-confident, virtuous and talented, with a strong sense of teamwork'

So which animal are you?  Does it suit your personality?  And let me know if you have a Chinatown in your area and plan on celebrating the Chinese New Year!  If nothing else, order yourself some Chinese food and tell me what your fortune cookie says.  (Which are an American invention, by the way.  Not Chinese.)

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