Happy New Year! The Lunar New Year begins February 19, 2015. Yes, the date of Lunar New Year moves but is always on the second new moon after the winter solstice. The event is commonly referred to as Chinese New Year, but countries and people beyond China celebrate it, so Lunar New Year is a more accurate, inclusive name.
This Lunar New Year marks the start of the Year of the Sheep, a symbol in the Chinese Zodiac, which was created thousands of years ago and features 12 animals. The Chinese zodiac animals are not associated with constellations, unlike the western zodiac. There are also five elements of the zodiac: metal, water, wood, fire, and earth. This year's element is wood.
There is some dispute over the proper name of the animal for this new year. While sheep is commonly accepted, it is also known as the Year of the Goat, Year of the Ram, or even the year of the Mongolian gazelle.
This article from Yahoo! News explains that the focus isn't necessarily on the specific animal but rather on "the 'yang', which can refer to any member of the caprinae subfamily -- or even beyond -- depending on what additional Chinese character it is paired up with ... Folklorists say it does not matter which one is used since the zodiac sign was chosen for the Chinese character's auspicious connotation rather than the specific animal."
Now that we've solved the animal issue (kinda, sorta), here are some facts about the year of the sheep.
What other years are the Year of the Sheep?
The most recent year of the sheep prior to this one is 2003. If you have an 11-year-old, chances are that kiddo was born in the Year of the Sheep.
1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, and 1991 are all also Year of the Sheep.
Individuals born in the Year of the Sheep are said to be kind, peace-loving, and trusting. In addition to being artistic, they are also often gentle, calm, and popular. They are also known to be indecisive and moody.
What historical figures were born in the Year of the Sheep?
What modern celebrities were born in the Year of the Sheep?
Jennifer Love Hewitt
(Source: MSN "Celebrities born in the Year of the Sheep")
What's in the Lunar New Year for me?
Maybe you can also get the kids to participate in the tradition of cleaning the home just prior to the start of the Lunar New Year. It is believed that cleaning will rid your home and yourself of the bad luck of the previous year, making your home open for the good luck of the coming year.
Do not, however, sweep on New Year's Day, as Chinese tradition holds that you could be sweeping your luck right out the door.
Happy New Year! May it be full of health and prosperity for you. In case you were wondering about next year, the Lunar New Year falls on February 8, which will mark the start of the year of the Monkey.
You May Also Like: Celebrating Chinese New Year with Kids
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