Asian New Year

Resource guide about the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Rat

Happy Lunar New Year from the PCC Library!

Dragon dance at  New Year's image

The Year of the Rat begins on January 25, 2020. The Rat is the Chinese zodiac sign known for being inquisitive, shrewd, and resourceful.

May the New Year bring you good fortune and happiness!

*image from the 2017 Dragon Dance & Parade in Portland, Oregon by CHF, CC-BY-4.0.

Lunar New Year

The Chinese tradition of representing the years with animals dates back to the Han dynasty (approx. 220 BCE). The 12 year cycle of the animals in the Chinese Zodiac is similar to astrological signs.  Each year is represented by an both animal and element. People who are born in that year are said to have the particular characteristics or mannerisms of the animal, both positive and negative, that are also effected by the element.  The 12 animals include: rat/mouse, ox/cow, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep/goat/ram, monkey, chicken/cock/rooster, dog, and pig.  The 5 elements include: metal, water, wood, fire, and earth. 

The Lunar New Year is an important traditional holiday to China and other Asian countries such as Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan. It is also called Chinese New Year, Spring Festival, Asian New Year, or Tết. It occurs on the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar. The exact date of the Lunar New Year can vary from year to year on the Gregorian (U.S.) calendar, which is based on the cycles of the sun, since the lunar calendar is based on the phases of the moon.

The Lunar New Year is celebrated over a number of days and is a time for merriment and remembrance with families and friends. Traditional customs include gifts of red envelopes and oranges; special foods such as dumplings and long noodles; and celebrations with fireworks and lion dancers.

*The above image is CC0  Public Domain


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Chau Hoang Fossen
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