Spring Festival 101

Posted by Pete DeMola on 24. Jan 2009

We're bidding farewell to the Year of the Rat and saying hello to the Ox.  

The lunar calendar is based on the cycles of the moon and associates each of the 12 years forming a partial cycle with an animal. As legend has it, Buddha once invited all of the animals to come hang with him on the new year, but only twelve showed up.

Welcome to the year 4707, which makes sense, for the ever-practical Chinese utilize the lunar calendar, which isn’t based on the non-consummated birth of the descendent of a mythical sky-figure.

Ox years are characterized by the earth element, which is said to embody the characteristics of patience, thoughtfulness, practicality, hard work and stability.

During the season, luck and prosperity are desired, and superstitious rituals that will lead to their fulfillment should be practiced. For example, opening the windows and doors on the Big Day ushers in good luck, as does flicking on the lights at night, cleaning the house prior on New Year’s Eve and donning anything red.

It’d be a good idea to avoid actions that may dash all hopes for an auspicious coming year: Don’t sweep the floor on the first day or wear black and white clothes—and refrain from using homophones that are reminiscent of death and misfortune.

Check out the following schedule to see how the world's most populous nations gets down.

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