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Happy Chinese New Year: Year of the Ox


Happy Chinese New Year - 春节快乐 (chūn jié kuài lè)! Today marks the beginning of the Year of the Ox, which symbolizes diligence, strength and determination. This zodiac sign occupies the second position on the Chinese horoscope. There are 12 zodiac animals, which are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Knowing this, you can determine someone’s age!

Most commonly referred to as “Chinese New Year” in the U.S., other names for it are ‘Lunar New Year’ and ‘Spring festival.’ This festival is over 3,000 years old and can be dated back to the ancient worship of heaven and Earth. As time goes on the celebrations became more entertainment-orientated.

According to Chinese folktales, a giant and monstrous creature lived in the mountains and would come down at the end of the year to destroy agriculture and terrorize the people. This beast was referred to as “Nian (年),” meaning ‘year’ in Chinese. Over time the villagers discovered that Nian was frightened by loud noises, bright lights and the colour red.

To prevent Nian from tampering with the land, the people created a model of the creature and set two people to animate it. When the new year struck, they sent their model, accompanied by banging of drums, cymbals and gongs, to chase Nian away. Because of this, the Nian Dance, now known as the Lion Dance, is preformed annually. People also hang red banners and paper cuttings throughout their homes.



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