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What is Lunar New Year?

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 2008 it will fall on Thursday, February 7th 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. 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.


2008: Year of the Rat

If you were born in: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, or 1996

The Chinese astrological cycle begins with the year of the Rat; consequently those born within this category like to be first, pioneers, at the forefront of the action. Rat people are born under the sign of charm and aggressiveness. They are expressive and can be talkative sometimes. Rats usually have more acquaintances than real friends and they revere and cherish those close to them.

Qualities include occasionally mean, narrow-minded and surburban in outlook, but nevertheless honest. Being quick witted, the Rats get more accomplished in 24 hours than the rest of us do in as many days. They are confident and usually have a good instinct. Stubborn as they are, they prefer to live by their own rules. It won’t be an easy task to work with those born in the year of Rat. But why?

This is simply because they are perfectionists. Rats are very organized and talented. Perhaps that is why they make a good businessman or politician. Unfortunately, as soon as the Rat earns money, he spends it. The Rat is not romantic, but he is sensual and loving. Lastly, they are very loyal and devoting to their families.