Welcoming the year of the Rat

Chinese New Year, also known as Luna New Year or Spring Festival, is a traditional holiday and one of the most important festivals in China. Traditionally, Chinese New Year would begin on the last day of the month in the Chinese Calendar, Chinese New Years Eve, and would end on the fifteenth day of the first month - the lantern festival. This makes it the longest festival in the Chinese calendar.

The date changes from year to year due to the fact that the Chinese year is based on an ancient calendar which follows the phases of the moon. 2020 saw Chinese New Year fall on the 25th January.

As you may already know, we have welcomed in the Chinese Year of the Rat, but what does this mean?

In Chinese tradition, each year is named after one of twelve animals: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Each has its own meanings and characteristics, much like the signs of the Zodiac. The animals of the Chinese calendar are used in determining your fortune, marriage compatibility, career fit and so much more.

The Rat is the first in order of all the Chinese Zodiac animals and represents the beginning of a new cycle. Rats are also seen as symbols of wealth and surplus. Because of their fast rate of reproduction, couples who wished to be blessed with children, prayed to them.

It is a Chinese New Year tradition to give 'Red Pockets' or 红包 (hóngbāo) filled with lucky money, to children. The red colour stands for good fortune and prosperity for the new year and it is supposed to ward off evil spirits.


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