On a personal note--A few years back Bill and I went to Hong Kong over the Chinese New Year. We were advised not to travel there during this holiday because, like our Christmas or Thanksgiving, the holiday is so important that everyone comes home to celebrate. Of course, Bill and I just do our own thing--so--we went. It was one of the most magnificent experiences in our travels. The fire works display is unrivaled! After all, the Chinese discovered fireworks! W "The earliest documentation of fireworks dates back to 7th century China, where they were invented. The fireworks were used to accompany many festivities. It is a part of the culture of China and had its origin there; eventually it spread to other cultures and societies. Important events and festivities such as the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) and the Mid-Autumn Festival were and still are times when fireworks are guaranteed sights. China is the largest manufacturer and exporter of fireworks in the world."... The event was breathtaking as was our entire experience. We also took the W hydrofoil to W Macau and spent the day watching the parade. It was the year that the Portuguese were giving Macau back to China, Dec. 20, 1999. Bill and I were fortunate enough to sit with the diplomats in their seating space. These Portuguese were having to return to Portugal and were bemoaning that fact. We found that to be fascinating! Also, Bill and I traveled, briefly, into Southern China to see the Terra Cotta figures.
For a complete understanding of the Chinese New Year and to find your specific animal sign, element and the meaning of both, follow this link: Chinese Astrology It would be interesting to compare what you find to your Zodiac sign.
Nónglì Xinnián, the Chinese New Year, is coming up on Jan. 31, 2014. This is the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar. Solar and lunar changes determine the Chinese months. The New Year comes approximately one and one-half months after the winter solstice. Or, think of it this way: the "Lunar New Year is when the Chinese New Year is determined since the days of centuries ago, the moon was used as the source of determining time and the calendar before the sun was used. There is a fluctuation of about 3 ½ weeks that the Lunar Calendar can move versus the sun. For this reason, the Chinese New Year falls on a different day every year between the 3rd week in January and the 2nd week in February." This symbolizes the beginning of spring. There is a spring festival that continues for 15 days beginning January 31st.
Both animal signs and elements are factors considered in the Chinese astrological chart. For example, 2014 is the year of the horse. The horse signifies unexpected adventure and romance. These characteristics are the most pertinent to those born in the year of the horse: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014. The elements are: metal, wood, water, fire or earth. By determining the element finer distinctions can be made. 2014 is known as the year of the wooden horse. Wood is associated with greenery and nature.
The Chinese New Year is a celebratory time--both literal and symbolic. Spring cleaning must begin about one month prior to the new year and be completed before celebrations can begin. The New Year is marked by parades. The lion is considered a good omen so the lion dance appears in almost every parade. Red is considered a lucky color. Money placed in red envelopes are given out as a symbol of good luck. Even numbers are considered lucky so the monetary amount is always even. Odd numbers are considered as unlucky. Wearing red and writing positive thoughts on red paper are also a tradition. The lighting of fire crackers and the making of lots of noise is traditional. It scares away evil. Eating special foods and avoiding others is important. For example, red meat is usually not served. Instead, fish is eaten as it signifies long life and good fortune. "Red dates bring the hope for prosperity, melon seeds for proliferation, and lotus seeds means the family will prosper through time. Oranges and tangerines symbolize wealth and good fortune. Nian gao, the New Year's cake is always served. It is believed that the higher the cake rises the better the year will be. When company stops by a 'prosperity tray' is served. The tray has eight sides (another symbol of prosperity). The tray is filled with goodies like red dates, melon seeds, cookies, and New Year Cakes."... It is also important to serve everything on tableware that is not chipped, cracked or broken in any way. By doing so that helps to make a prosperous year.
"With the Chinese New Year beginning on Jan. 31, it is time we recognize the New Year's Chinese Zodiac: the horse, symbolizing character traits such as intelligence, energy, and strength. While the Chinese Zodiac horse might be strong and full of energy, what happens when yours adopts uncharacteristic behaviors of limited mobility and weakness? Though equine lameness is a problem seen in many horses during their lifetime, there are ways of preventing and treating it to help your horse be as healthy as the Chinese Zodiac horse this year. ..." Equine Lameness 101
For More Information:Equine Lameness