CHINESE NEW YEAR

Chinese New Year is celebrated extensively in many Australian capital cities and provincial centres. Although particularly significant to anyone of Chinese origin it is now more broadly celebrated within the community. Dragon dances, lion dances, firecrackers, food and flowers combine to make a lively festival filled with tradition and fun that everyone can enjoy.

CALCULATING DATES FOR CHINESE NEW YEAR

The timing of Chinese New Year varies slightly from year to year as it is based on the Chinese calendar but usually falls between mid January and the end of February. Calculating the specific dates can be a little complicated but here is an explanation for those that are interested.

Also known as Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year begins on the day of the second new moon after the winter solstice (based on Chinese lunar calendar and Northern Hemisphere). In the event of an intercalary eleventh or twelfth month leading up to the New Year, the next Chinese New Year falls on the day of the third new moon after the solstice.

TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS AND THEIR MEANINGS

AUSTRALIAN FLOWERS USED AT CHINESE NEW YEAR

In the tradition of the New Year, Chinese families will decorate their homes with flowers, oranges and tangerines (symbols of abundant happiness) and candied fruit and other treats. Happy wishes written on red paper are hung on walls and doors, the colour red driving away evil and bad luck. Red, yellow and orange are the central colours throughout the festival. Peach blossoms (luck), Cumquat plants (prosperity), Narcissus, Chrysanthemum (longevity) and Bamboo (a plant used throughout the year) are the plants and flowers that are most popular in China for the New Year. Flowers represent new life and rebirth and in Chinese tradition they are symbolic of wealth and a prosperous career. The Chinese believe flowers are necessary for the formation of fruits, making flowers and floral decorations essential in celebrating this auspicious event.

In Australia, with the seasonal differences, the flowers of choice are Gladioli, African Marigolds, Chinese Lanterns and Orchids. Jade and Chilli plants also feature in an Australian Chinese New Year – a plant blooming on New Years Day means the home will be lucky! Flowers that are predominantly red, yellow or orange, feature throughout the festival.

ORIGINS AND MYTHOLOGY

A tradition that goes back thousands of years, Chinese New Year starts with the legend of Nien, a cruel and ferocious beast that terrorised and ate people on the eve of the New Year. To protect themselves, the people would light torches, hang lanterns, paste paper couplets on doors and set fire crackers off to scare away the beast that was said to be afraid of the colour red, the firelight and loud noises. The next morning, with the beast successfully kept away, celebrations began.

CHINESE HOROSCOPE

The Chinese Horoscope is another aspect vital to the traditions of Chinese New Year.

The origin of the horoscope is thought to go back to Buddha, before he left the earth. He called on all the animals to come to him but only 12 animals arrived to say goodbye. He named a year after each of them as a reward. The Chinese believe that the animal a person is born under will have a profound effect on their personality. In addition to the animal horoscope are the basic elements of earth, wood, water, fire and metal. With the combination of all these fundamentals, the 60 year cycle lunar calendar is formed.

CHINESE NEW YEAR ROSTER

CHINESE HOROSCOPE MEANINGS

RAT

Those born under the sign of the Rat are noted for their charm and attraction to the opposite sex. Rats work hard to achieve their goals, acquire possessions and are likely to be perfectionists. They are quick to see potential and put their creative and clever ideas to effect. They can be stubborn, selfish and greedy as they approach tasks wholeheartedly.

They are most compatible with those born in the year of the Dragon, Monkey and Ox.

OX

Those born under the sign of the Ox are patient, honest, gentle, speak little and inspire confidence in others. They can also be eccentric, bigoted and anger easily. A reliable animal, the Ox builds plans and ideas on solid ground. They are logical and have trouble forgiving if deceived.

They are most compatible with those born in the year of the Snake, Rooster and Rat.

TIGER

Those born under the sign of the Tiger are sensitive, given to deep thinking, capable of great sympathy but are very short-tempered. They are also determined, enthusiastic and positive with a sense of superiority.
They are most compatible with those born in the year of the Horse, Dragon and Dog.

RABBIT

Those born under the sign of the Rabbit are articulate, talented and ambitious. They are also virtuous, reserved and have excellent taste. They like all things to be low key and get anxious if required to take risks.
They are most compatible with those born in the year of the Sheep, Pig and Dog.

DRAGON

Those born under the sign of the Dragon are healthy, energetic, excitable, short-tempered and stubborn. They are also honest, sensitive, brave and inspire confidence and trust. Good at creating an impression Dragons are comfortable with being the centre of attention. They have the ability to resolve things at the right moment, being decisive, lucky, quite serious and dignified.

They are most compatible with those born in the year of the Rat, Snake, Monkey and Rooster.

SNAKE

Those born under the sign of the Snake are deep, say little, have tremendous sympathy for others and possess great wisdom. With a fondness for being in control they are captivating yet calculating. They are financially fortunate but vain and selfish.

They are most compatible with those born in the year of the Ox and Rooster.

HORSE

Those born under the sign of the Horse are popular people. Cheerful, skilful with money, honest and perceptive, however, often they talk too much. They are also independent, confident, full of strength and are ambitious. They have a strong devotion to their family and work life.

They are most compatible with those born in the year of the Tiger, Dog and Sheep.

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SHEEP

Those born under the sign of the Sheep are elegant, wise, gentle, compassionate and highly accomplished in the arts. They are also often shy, pessimistic and puzzled about life. They are considered to be patient, reliable, and remain calm and stable under pressure.

They are most compatible with those born in the year of the Rabbit, Pig and Horse.

MONKEY

Those born under the sign of the Monkey are the active animals of the zodiac. Born with an inner spirit and lightning energy, they learn quickly and are ambitious and adaptable. Clever, skilful and flexible, they are inventive and original and can solve most difficult problems easily. They also have the habit of being too agreeable.

They are most compatible with those born in the year of the Dragon and the Rat.

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ROOSTER

Those born under the sign of the Rooster are deep thinkers, capable and talented. They like to keep busy, are deeply disappointed if they fail, are often a little eccentric and often have difficult relationships with others. They are always interesting and extremely brave. With powerful imaginations they are good talkers and can persuade others.

They are most compatible with those born in the year of the Ox, Snake and Dragon.

DOG

Those born under the sign of the Dog have a deep sense of loyalty, are honest and can keep secrets. They are also selfish, stubborn and eccentric but make good leaders. Ready for action, the Dog is brave and courageous and rarely withdraws from a commitment.

They are most compatible with those born in the year of the Horse, Tiger and Rabbit.

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PIG

Those born under the sign of the Pig are chivalrous, gallant, have tremendous fortitude and honesty. They are tolerant and generous, virtuous and peaceful. Well liked for their warm natures Pigs try to find the best in people. They don’t talk a lot but have a thirst for knowledge. They are quick tempered yet hate arguments and have few enemies.

They are most compatible with those born in the year of the Rabbit and the Sheep.