China marks Lunar New Year

BEIJING. – Vigilant, witty, quick-minded and ingenious.

Those are some of the words used to describe this year’s Chinese Zodiac animal.

As we farewell the Year of the Tiger, millions of people around the world are preparing to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit.

When is Lunar New Year?

Celebrated in China for thousands of years, Lunar New Year is based on a calendar that uses both the lunar (cycles of the Moon) and solar (Earth’s annual orbit around the Sun) to determine dates.

This means that the date of Lunar New Year varies from year to year because it follows the cycle of the moon.

This year, tomorrow marks the beginning of Lunar New Year.

The celebration will end on February 5, with the Lantern Festival.

The Chinese community and its diaspora are not the only ones who observe celebrations following the Lunar calendar.

Canterbury-Bankstown is one of the few councils representing the cat in its celebrations.(Supplied: Canterbury-Bankstown Council)

Lunar New Year is celebrated in many other Asian countries, including Vietnam, the Koreas, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. Although some traditions are shared, others are unique to each country’s cultural identity.

To the Vietnamese, for example, this Lunar New Year will welcome the Year of the Cat.

While customs, rituals and the length of celebrations vary, one thing stays true: honouring a fresh star.

There are 12 animals following a repeating, 12-year cycle and they go by the following order: rat, ox/buffalo, tiger, rabbit/cat, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

The animals of the Chinese zodiac symbolise a deep connection with that nation’s ancient cultural heritage, each one holding a unique place in Chinese history, mythology and customs. –

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