East vs West – The Chinese Zodiac Years

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Definition of the Chinese Zodiac Years 

In China, the use of a lunisolar calendar based on astronomical observations of the Sun’s longitude in the sky, and the Moon’s phases, marks off the Chinese Year. This calendar dates back to the 14th century BCE, and is much older than the Gregorian calendar that much of the rest of the world uses. Every Chinese LuniSolar Year has an animal zodiac sign called the Chinese Zodiac Year. The Western Gregorian calendar does not match up well to the Chinese Lunar calendar. So there is a difference between the years as well as the zodiac signs within.  

A different animal is assigned to each year of the 12 year cycle, that follows the 11.85 year orbit of Jupiter around the sun. Since it is not exact, as is so with the Gregorian calendar, a leap month is added approximately every 3 years. The Chinese Zodiac Years are followed throughout Asia, like Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, Korea and Thailand.

Both Eastern and Western Zodiacs have cycles that are divided into 12 parts, and most of the Western Zodiac are depicted with animals, although Chinese Zodiac signs are not of constellations in the heavens. But both are used to describe the individual’s personality and some major happenings within a time frame. 

2019 is the Chinese Zodiac Year of the Pig from Feb. 05, 2019 to Jan. 23, 2020. 

2020 is the Chinese Zodiac Year of the Rat. Beginning on January 25, 2020.

The Animals of the Chinese Zodiac Years

The 12 year cycle begins with the Year of the Rat and continues through all 12 signs.

Each Animal sign is also associated with one of the 5 Elements – Wood, Earth, Fire, Water and Metal,  that also cycle throughout this period of time.

The animals of the Chinese zodiac are as follows in order: 

Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.

Western Zodiac describes your personality by the month you were born. The Chinese Zodiac describes your compatibilities and incompatibilities in relationships with other signs as well as your personality traits. 

Chinese New Year and the Spring Festival

The most celebrated holiday of the year is the Spring Festival and the Start of the New Chinese Year. Feng Shui Spring Cleaning of the house, and the hanging of Couplets, which are short poems about prosperity and spring written on black and or red paper in gold, on their doors is a huge tradition that is recognized around the world.

In China, the start of a new year is celebrated with a Spring Festival, the biggest holiday of the year. Traditionally, people give their house a big spring clean and hang couplets on their doors. Couplets are poetic lines about spring and prosperity written in gold on black on red paper. The older members of the family give the young children hongbao, which are little red gift packages with money inside.  And of course, lots and lots of fireworks!

The Chinese Zodiac Years are celebrated by an entire nation at one time, and one is never the same as the one before.  Having a new Zodiac Animal with all of its attributes, makes for exciting new thinking every single year.

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