Chinese New Year 2019 - What you need to know about China’s Big Festival
With the 2019 edition of the Chinese new year set to officially Kickstart on the 5th of February 2019, we have provided this guide to get you informed and educated about what the Chinese new year is all about and other notable things you need to know. The festival normally runs between the closing days of January and mid-February within 2 weeks but across some parts of China, a whole month could be spent observing it. The festival always sparks excitement across the country and is always observed diligently as it’s part and parcel of their tradition in China. Before the new year day, preparations must have commenced normally on January 28th and will stop on the new year’s eve, which is on the 4th of February. This is called the “Little Year”. And then from the 5th of February to the 15th (which is the main festival period), the festival is duly observed. While from the 16th of February to the 19th, the “Lantern Festival” takes place. So, what you need to know about China’s Big Festival.
What is the Chinese New Year and Why is it Special?
The Chinese New Year is a widely celebrated period in the Asian country. The date is not the same year though as it changes because it’s being operated based on the lunar calendar. As earlier stated, the 2019 Chinese New Year begins on the 5th of February and is expected to last for 2 weeks during which festivities would be of true traditional significance. The existence of the festival represents the animal that that particular year has been named after. Ever since the Jade Emperor strictly ordered the inclusion of animals into the Chinese astrological beliefs, they have been ever present in the zodiac and it’s not looking likely that they would put this practice or belief to a halt. The Chinese have a very strong and competent belief in their zodiac and they also believe that whatever year you were born in, the animal that represents that year possesses a strong bearing on your personality and is also a very important part of you. In other words, the festivities and celebrations that they engage in are practically fine-tuned to honour the animal that the year belongs to.
The “Spring Festival” is another name given to the Chinese New Year in modern Mainland China and of course, without a doubt, it’s the most important and notable traditional festival in the Asian country. At the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar, a Chinese new year is celebrated. And this lunisolar calendar comprises of not just Gregorian but also the lunar-solar calendar systems.
The Chinese New Year 2019
The festival was observed last year (2018) and it was the year of the Dog. A 12-year cycle is what the Chinese zodiac operates and works with and as a result of this, those people that were born in any of the following years – 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006 and then 2018 (last year) were all born in the year of the dog. Since the Chinese New Year in 2019 is on Tuesday, the 5th of February (5/2/2019), and following the principles that guide the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac cycle, the Chinese new year that is set to be welcomed in 2019 is the year of the Pig and based on history, Pig years are reportedly widely thought of and believed to be the most unlucky one amongst others in the category. And this is based on the life of those that were previously born in the years of the Pig that have gone by. On the Chinese New Year’s day, each Chinese zodiac year begins.
Year of the Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959
What is the Chinese Zodiac?
According to general belief, zodiacs are basically traced or automatically linked to the worship of animals. It has been more than 2,000 years that a zodiac system has existed in the Chinese culture since the Qin dynasty. As tune went by, the zodiacs became even more and respected, honoured and adored because it gradually became part of everyday life, with each animal being assigned with a plethora of different meanings and characteristics. And as a result of this, the zodiacs have in turn become a role-playing factor because they have been able to play a major role in not just marriage matters, but also career decisions, fortune-telling amongst others. Ever since the Chinese people have upheld this practice and belief and have welcomed it as a part of their very own existence which has resulted in them observing it during their New Year festivals
The animals that belong to the Chinese zodiac are the ones that determine what name that’s going to be given to a particular year. Additionally, the Chinese Zodiac runs for a complete 12-year cycle. In other words, a different animal represents every single year in the zodiac cycle and once the cycle completes an iteration, another year of a specific animal comes again into play.
What to Know About the Animals in the Zodiac
We start with the Rat. In the year of the Rat, the people born have the natural habits of saving and collecting. They don’t encounter financial destabilization and they lived very organized lives. Whenever Rats provide kind gestures, they don’t look for praises or recognition in return. A Rat is said to be thinking highly of you whenever you get a valuable gift from them. Also, their sensitivity game is very strong as they know when trouble looms around. When these set of people take risks, they usually come out of it successfully. Their best match is the Ox, their best group is the Monkey or Dragon and they are incompatible with Horses.
Those that are born in the year of the Ox are usually known to be hard workers and they value the virtue of taking responsibility. These set of people are patient when it comes to relationships as they never force themselves to be liked by other people. They carry out tasks even though they are difficult ones. These ones aren’t very romantic. When it comes to emotions, they don’t expose anything but rather choose to keep things to themselves. They usually maintain quietness and whenever they lose their temper or get angry, it’s usually an ugly sight to behold. Their best match is Rats, their best groups are Snake and Rooster. They are incompatible with Goats.
The Tiger year category is filled with people born independent and has high self-esteem. These people find joy in the protection of lowly people and are administrators of justice. These people don’t give in whenever they argue. Their biggest flaw however is their recklessness and this causes them some setbacks and failures. However, whoever they do fail, Tigers will always find a way to get up, dust their butts and have another go at success till they succeed. Pigs are their best match, Horse and Dog are their best group and they are incompatible with Monkeys.
These are the gentle ones. People born in the year of the Rabbit are not just gentle but also quiet and polite. They have real intelligence and are patient. They attain success because of the high sense of responsibility and stern attention to every detail that matters. These ones take love seriously but hardly fall for anyone easily. If they do find whom they love, they would love them wholeheartedly and completely. They are incompatible with Roosters. Their best group is Pig and Goat. While their best match is Dog.
The Dragon year is a year that a certain kind of people is born. These people cherish romance and adventure in their lifetime. Their mysterious personality is a hard one for others to understand. Despite seeming lazy to do anything, whenever they set their mind at doing anything, they do it with utmost dedication and ambition. Their best match is Rooster, the best group is Monkey and Rat and they are Incompatible with Dogs.
These ones are incompatible with pigs. They are real idealists. These ones have full enthusiasm and are warm in nature even though they may appear very cold on the outside. They become very uncomfortable and risky when they lack a full understanding of someone. These ones have real devotion and determination. Best match: Monkey. Their Best group: Rooster, Ox. And they are incompatible with Pigs.
People born in the year of the Horse are never one to surrender. They are always positive and energetic, pushing themselves forward. Their biggest desire is to have the freedom to do what they like and be able to express themselves. However, they also have various negative traits. Horses are bad at keeping secrets and lose interest quickly. Their best match is the Goat.
The set of individuals born in the year of the Goat are of pure and kind hearts. They extend their kindness towards other people and don’t like to see others get hurt. These ones have a passion to fulfill their wishes and hence have extreme determination to achieve their best wishes. They would rather suffer within themselves than ruin someone else’s mood with their expressions. However, despite their kindness, Goats are quite tricky as well. They have this kind of power that makes them able to persuade others (in a very polite manner) into their favor. Their best match is the Horse, Best group: Pig, Rabbit and they are incompatible with Oxes.
The year of the Monkey is a year when people who do things based on interest are born. They might do something they don’t really feel like doing but when they do, they do it with so much disinterest. But when they feel like doing it, they do it completely and correctly until they succeed at it. They have quite the energy and curiosity for the world that enables them to live long. They also take relationships to heart as well. Their best match is the Snake. Best group: Rat, Dragon and they are incompatible with Tigers.
The set of people that are born in the year of the Rooster have the special ability to sense what the other person is thinking or feeling. These people possess quick reaction abilities as well and they have interestingly high EQ. They are good at making great friendships but some of them are cunning. They tend to plan ahead very carefully and are particularly gifted with arts. Best match: Dragon. Best group: Snake, Ox. They are incompatible with Rabbits.
These ones are the ones that are full of justice. They are very loyal and for this reason, they are highly and respectably valued anywhere they are. These people hardly trespass. They actually prefer to live a quiet life with their own family and friends in peace rather than live a very extravagant life. Their best match is the Rabbit. Their best group: Tiger, Horse and they are incompatible with Dragons.
The people born in the year of the Pig are experts when it comes to logical thinking. They are gifted with the ability to think logically and provide answers or solutions to help them escape from critical situations. These people are the ones that mostly provide the needs of the family even though they aren’t very good communicators. Most of the people born in the year of the Pig are wealthy people which explains why they are the ones that shoulder the responsibility of providing the needs of the family. Their major flaw, however, is that they lose their tempers and get angry quite too easily. Their best match is the Tiger. Their best group: Rabbit, Goat. And they are incompatible with snakes.
Does the Chinese New Year have a Major Side Effect?
Yes, it does. The Chinese new year festival affects importation from China. This is so because, during the period of celebration and observation, the country shuts down most or all of its other activities. In other words, for the whole two weeks or perhaps one month (depending on the area), business activities are put on a halt and this means that importations and exportations are paused. Because China is the major supplier that ships in various goods around the world, this is a major blow to business people who have scheduled this particular period as the time to patronize the Asian giants. So in lieu to this, one needs to be aware, informed and educated on the matter so they can reschedule the time they want to make importations from China should they find out that their stipulated time clashes with the festival period.
Chinese New Year Snacks
There are some snacks that are traditionally served and eaten to mark the new year in China. They are listed below :
Baked Seeds 瓜子 (guā zǐ)
Malt Candy 麦芽糖 (mài yá táng)
Malt melon gourd 糖瓜 (táng guā)
Candied figures 捏糖人 (niē táng rén)
Candied haw 冰糖葫芦 (bīng táng hú lú)
Peanut candy 花生糖 (huā shēng táng)
Popped Rice 爆炒米 (bào chǎo mǐ)
Ginger Candy 糖姜片 (táng jiāng piàn)
Fried Dough Twists 麻花 (má huā)
Ox Tongue Pastry 牛舌饼 (niú shé bǐng)
Yilan ox tongue pastry 宜兰牛舌饼 (yí lán niú shé bǐng)
Lukang ox tongue pastry鹿港牛舌饼 (lù gǎng niú shé bǐng)
Persimmon Cakes 柿饼 (shì bǐng)
Fruit Platter 水果盘 (shuǐ guǒ pán)
Chinese New Year Desserts
Just like snacks, the Chinese have a crop of desserts they consume during their new year celebrations. They are listed below.
Nian Gao 年糕 (nián gāo)
Fa Gao 发糕 (fā gāo)
Turnip Cake 萝卜糕 (luó bo gāo)
Osmanthus Jelly 桂花糕 (guì huā gāo)
Jujube Flower Cakes枣花糕 (zǎo huā gāo)
Ai Wo-Wo 艾窝窝 (ài wō wo)
Rice Balls 汤圆 (tāng yuán)
Taro balls (芋圆—yù yuán)
Song muffin cakes (松糕—sōng gāo)
Yellow pea cakes (豌豆黄—wān dòu huáng)
Sesame balls (煎堆—jiān duī)
Almond cookies (杏仁饼—xìng rén bǐng)
10 Chinese New Year Myths
There are ten (10) major myths that are popularly known about the Chinese new year festival. Below is a list of them all.
The Monster and New Year’s Eve.
Evil Spirits and Poetry
Fortune has Arrived!
Dumplings and Ears
Origin of Spring Festive Wine
Origin of Red Pockets
The Stove God and Candy
The 12 Zodiac Animals
Red Underwear Tradition
The Swan and the Lantern Festival
Chinese New Year Decorations
During the Chinese new year festival period, an array of decorative materials are used to beautify homes and places alike. These materials are traditionally acceptable and generally used to create a special event set-up and makes the event even more colourful. The materials for the decorations are listed below:
Paper Cutting Arts 窗花 (chuāng huā)
Door Gods 门神 (mén shén)
Fortune 福 (fú)
Spring Festival Couplets 春联 (chūn lián)
Paintings 年画 (nián huà)
Kumquats 金桔 (jīn jú)
Lanterns 灯笼 (dēng lóng)
Which Category of Chinese Zodiac Animals do I Belong to?
Perhaps you might be wondering which Chinese zodiac animal you are. We have that sorted out. You can check below and see for yourself which of them you are.
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
Goat: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967
Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968
Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969
Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958
Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959