Gong Xi Fa Chai

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2014 will be the year of the horse. What does that mean? The Chinese lunar calendar is divided into a cycle of sixty years consisting of five repetitions of each of twelve years. In Chinese culture, each of these years is associated with an animal displaying its own characteristics and together they are known popularly through both East and West as the Chinese zodiac.

Chinese children are associated with the zodiac year in which they are born. The cycle begins with the year of the rat, continuing in the following order : ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig. The Chinese believe that destiny is the result of one’s zodiac sign.

Careful examination of the traditional calendar reveals twenty four days on the first and fifteenth days of each lunar month. In Chinese these are known as the joints and breaths of the year and identify the climatic, agricultural and astronomical landmarks that comprise the calendar year. The first such date after the New Year, for example, is Lichun (The Beginning of Spring). Fifteen days later falls Yushui (Rainwater), marking the melting of the winter snow and the beginning of the spring rains. ~ Taken from Welch, P. B. (1997). Chinese New Year. Oxford University Press: New York, USA. This book is available at Level 2, Central Library (GT4905 Wel).

With that, Happy Chinese New Year everyone and may the year of the horse bring peace, prosperity and may you ride your way to success. Enjoy the long break!

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