Sunday , February 11, 2018 - 12:00 AM
You may have heard of the Chinese zodiac from the little place mats at your favorite Chinese restaurant or from a quiz out there on the internet, but besides just seeing what funny animal year you were born, there is so much more to the Chinese zodiac.
Chinese New Year is right around the corner — beginning Thursday, Feb. 16, this year — so there is no better time to talk about it!
Did you know that Chinese New Year’s Eve is one of only four times throughout the year that fireworks can be discharged in Utah?
Although Chinese New Year may be a great excuse for us to celebrate and throw a party in the middle of February, in reality, this holiday has a much bigger purpose. This holiday is also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year due to China’s ties with the lunar calendar.
For two weeks following Chinese New Year Day, the new year is celebrated, and a lantern festival takes place to mark the close of the celebration. Even though China uses the Gregorian calendar like the rest of the world, the country still pays close attention to the lunar calendar.
Chinese New Year helps mark the beginning of the year, but oddly enough, there is no specific date set for this celebration. What day it occurs each year depends on the lunar calendar, but it’s always around the end of January and the middle of February.
• Lucky dozen
In China, years are grouped into sets of 12. Each of the years within this cycle has an animal figure associated with it. The zodiac animals, in order, include rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
Feb. 16 marks the beginning of the 11th year, and this means that we are entering the Year of the Dog in 2018.
The most recent years of the Dog have been 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994 and 2006. It seems like quite a long way away, but the next Year of the Dog will be in 2030!
• Personality clues
People born within each animal year are thought to have specific personality traits. Those born in the Year of the Dog are thought to be honest and loyal. They are true friends and very reliable partners.
Dogs are great at solving problems and breaking bad habits. Although dogs may worry and become anxious, they can make it through anything they put their mind to.
• Unlucky year?
Somewhat opposite to popular belief, to the Chinese, your own zodiac year is actually bad luck! Your zodiac year is considered the unluckiest out of the 12-year cycle, due to the idea of rebirth in Chinese culture.
So individuals should often take extra precautions to increase their luck within their own zodiac year. Dogs can still have a successful 2018 as long as they take care in certain areas, such as thinking before they speak and act.
• Good vibes for all
Despite the special emphasis put on dogs this year, there is no need for rabbits, snakes or any other Chinese zodiac animal to feel left out! Each and every year within the 12-year cycle can bring bits of luck and challenge. Through using their individual strengths, every animal can thrive throughout 2018 in his or her own way.
Whether you agree with the Chinese zodiac, or you enjoy celebrating Chinese New Year for the party, or you don’t care about this holiday at all, we can always make the year ahead of us a great one. By using our individual strengths and talents, and staying aware of our weaknesses, we can face whatever lies ahead in life.
We can each make the Year of the Dog an enjoyable one. Happy Chinese New Year!
London Maynard is a senior at Bear River High School. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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