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What is Lunar New Year?

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Also known as Chinese New Year and the Spring Festival, Lunar New Year is a two week celebration that begins on the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar. In 2010 it will fall on Sunday, February 14th and end on the full moon 15 days later. It celebrates family, the earth coming back to life and the start of a new beginning and possibilities. The cycle of 12 animal signs originates from Chinese traditions as a way of naming the years. The animals follow one another in an established order and are replicated every twelve years. The rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep , monkey, rooster, dog and pig are the twelve animal signs. Every animal has particular characteristics and people born in a specific year are believed to take on these characteristics. Regarded as a major holiday in Asia, Lunar New Year is celebrated internationally in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore and other Asian communities all around the world.

Preparations for Lunar New Year start during the last few days of the last moon. Houses are thoroughly cleaned, debts repaid, hair cut and new clothes bought. Doors are decorated with vertical scrolls of characters on red paper whose texts seek good luck and praise nature. During the two-week Lunar New Year period, numerous ancient traditions are observed, ranging from flower giving to the preparation of special foods. Perhaps the most popular Lunar New Year customs in the West are lion dances and firecrackers (to ward of evil spirits) and the giving of “lucky money” in colorful red envelopes to the children.

 

2010: Year of the Tiger

If you were born in: 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, or 1998

According to the Chinese Zodiac, the year 2010 is the year of the Tiger. The Tiger sign symbolizes bravery. This courageous and fiery fighter is admired by the ancient Chinese as the sign that keeps away the three main tragedies of a household. These are fire, thieves and ghosts. Those born under the influence of the Tiger are friendly and loving, but can also be selfish and short tempered. Tigers seek attention and power. They have an overpowering attraction and are very kind and always take on the character as protector. People that are born in the year of the Tiger are generally well liked because of their charismatic personalities. Anyone born in the year of the Tiger is usually straightforward and outgoing by nature, smart and instinctive.