The colorful celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year is the longest chronological record in history, dating from 2600 B.C., when the Emperor Huang Ti introduced the first cycle of the zodiac. Like the Western calendar, the Chinese Lunar Calendar is a yearly one, with the start of the lunar year being based on the cycles of the moon. Therefore, because of this cyclical dating, the beginning of the year can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February. On the Chinese calendar, 2007 is Lunar Year 4704-4705. On the Western calendar, the start of the New Year begins today — The Year of the Boar. A complete cycle takes 60 years and is made up of five cycles of 12 years each.
The Chinese Lunar Calendar names each of the twelve years after an animal. Legend has it that Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him before he departed from earth. Only twelve came to bid him farewell and as a reward he named a year after each one in the order they arrived. The Chinese believe the animal ruling the year in which a person is born has a profound influence on personality, “This is the animal that hides in your heart.”
Historically, Chinese New Year Day has been regarded as the only day that hard-working peasants abstained from labor. It is still considered to be the biggest holiday of the year, and is celebrated extensively throughout Asia. It is typical that festivities and great feasts are in preparation during the month leading to the fifteen day celebration. Family members gather together and the emphasis of gift giving is placed on elders and ancestors.
According to www.123chinesenewyear.com, each day of the fifteen day celebration carry special activities and customs in the traditional observance of the holiday. The first day of the celebration welcomes deities of heaven and earth in to the home and people abstain from eating meat or animal products as a way to insure longevity. On the second day, family come to pray together and pet dogs are honored with treats and gifts. On the third and fourth days, son-in-laws visit their parent in-laws with gifts and tokens of respect. The fifth day is called Poo-Woo and family remains at home to welcome success and wealth deities for the coming year. From the sixth to tenth days, people are free to visit other loved ones, family and friends, as well as places of personal worship for prayer. On the seventh day, seven vegetables chosen by local farmers are made into a traditional soup. The farmer displays winter vegetables and freshly made noodles. Feasting continues each night until the thirteenth when a simple and detoxifying rice congee is eaten. The next two days are reserved for the vivid lantern festival when paper lanterns ignite the night in nearby rivers and lakes.
While individuals have a Chinese Zodiac sign based upon the year in which they were born and the corresponding animal, Chinese astrologists believe we are all affected by the yearly animal mascot. Staring today, the attributes of the golden boar umbrella the planet. According to The Chinese Cultural Center, the year of the boar ushers in a productive and communicative time for business and enterprise. The boar likes excess, extravagance and fine living. Under his watch the procurement of luxury items is accentuated. The influence of the boar is complete contentment: this may lead to a lazy complacency if not checked. Overindulgence and a tendency to be fooled are the negative aspects to the sign, but for the most part look for fair weather and happy days.