A little off topic, but we were intrigued after recent events in the office to find out a little more about Chinese zodiac animals, and what the relationship to Chinese New Year they have. And in true Richard Ayoade style, here’s what we found.
If you’re a follower of our social media channels you may have noticed that our Managing Director Andrew and Quality Manager Paul recently took a trip across to Asia to visit some of our international centres in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. They came back fully cultured.
This year, Chinese New Year begins on Saturday January 28th and lasts until Thursday February 15th 2018 and it will be the year of the Rooster. The new year is also known as the ‘Spring Festival’ and is marked by the Chinese lunisolar calendar (which is the reason the date changes from year to year).
- The Chinese lunisolar calendar is influenced by the sun and the moon
- It is used for the dates of traditional activities in China, East Asia and many Chinese communities around the world
- It is used by some for celebrating birthdays and even for agricultural purposes (when to plough, plant, harvest etc)
- It is used to map the changing seasons throughout the year
- Uses the basic counting of moon (or lunar) cycles from one Spring to the next.
- Chinese months begin with a new moon, and have a full moon on day 15
- As a new moon comes roughly every 29 and a half days, Chinese calendar months always have 29 or 30 days
Chinese Lunar Months
- January (Month 1) = Start Month - Start of the year, simple enough
- February (Month 2) = Apricot Month - Apricot trees blossom
- March (Month 3) = Peach Month - Peach trees blossom
- April (Month 4) = Locust Tree Month – Locust trees blossom (you get the picture…)
- May (Month 5) = Sweet Sedge Month - Lunar month 5 day 5 is the ‘Dragon Boat Festival’ when people hang sweet sedge on doors to ward off evil spirits.
- June (Month 6) = Lotus Month – Lotus flowers bloom
- July (Month 7) = Skill Month - On lunar month 7 day 7, women traditionally prayed for and showed their dexterous domestic skills
- August (Month 8) = Osmanthus Month - Osmanthus flowers bloom
- September (Month 9) = Chrysanthemum Month - Chrysanthemum flowers bloom
- October (Month 10) = Yang Month - The Taoist yang force is believed to be strong this month
- November (Month 11) = Winter Month – Winter Solstice is in this month
- December (Month 12) = Preserved Month - Chinese preserve meats ready for Spring Festival, and traditionally worship all gods and ancestors.
The Chinese Zodiac
Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. The zodiac is divided into 12 blocks (or houses) just as its western counterpart is, but with the major difference being that each house has a time length of a year instead of a month.
- Rat (2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960)
- Ox (2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961)
- Tiger (2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962)
- Rabbit (2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963)
- Dragon (2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964)
- Snake (2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965)
- Horse (2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966)
- Sheep (2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967)
- Monkey (2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968)
- Rooster (2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969)
- Dog (2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970)
- Pig (2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971)
Characteristics of the Rooster
The general image of people in this zodiac sign tend to be hardworking, resourceful, confident and talented whilst they are active, talkative and engaging which makes them popular amongst friends. They are happiest amongst people and always enjoy standing in the spotlight.
- Strengths: healthy, sporty, self-assured
- Weaknesses: a little sensitive, stressed, moody
- Perfect Match: Ox and Snake
- Avoid: Rat, Rabbit, Horse, Rooster, Dog
What have we learnt?
From the outside looking in. the Chinese lunar cycle and zodiacs have great significance. And it's quite complicated.
Happy New Year!