Published 25th January 2020

What Chinese New Year Means For You

As a TEFL teacher, you’re might find you’re more interested in other cultures than the average Joe. After all, a big reason we decide to go on this TEFL journey is to travel the world and experience new people, religions and traditions. So you probably already know that Chinese New Year 2020 starts on 25 January and ends on 4th February, but what exactly does it mean for you?

Chinese New Year

Unlike the Western calendar, the Chinese New Year starts on the new moon between January 20 and February 21; this year that falls on 25 January. The Chinese year is divided into twelve blocks (just like our months), but each block has a duration of one year. These twelve blocks make up the Chinese zodiac. 

The Year of the Rat

The Year of the Pig has just finished and 2020 sees in the Year of the Rat. As you can imagine, just as our month of birth dictates which Western sign of the zodiac we fall under, so our year of birth tells us which Chinese zodiac sign we belong to. Whichever animal you are describes your personality and can give you insight into your future, your health, your wealth, your love life, your career and so on. If you’re not sure which zodiac animal you are, have a look here:

  • Rat: 2020, 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960 
  • Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961 
  • Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962 
  • Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963 
  • Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964 
  • Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965 
  • Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966 
  • Sheep: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967 
  • Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968 
  • Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969 
  • Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970 
  • Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971   

If you happen to be born in the Year of the Rat, you are considered smart, resourceful and quick-witted. You are imaginative and sharp, and though you are kind and sensitive your communication skills leave a lot to be desired. If you are born in the Year of the Rat your lucky numbers are two and three, your lucky colours are blue, green and gold, and your lucky flowers are lilies and African violets.

Unfortunately, the Chinese believe that the year of your birth sign is a very unlucky year. So if you were born in the Year of the Rat, 2020 might not be a good year for you (sorry!).

What Chinese New Year Means For You

What you should and shouldn’t do on Chinese New Year

There are a number of superstitions surrounding Chinese New Year. Before New Year starts, you should clean your home and eat a dinner of fish and dumplings. Most families will stay awake until midnight when they set off fireworks to scare off evil. Children are given red packets containing money to bring them good health and prosperity in the coming year.

In terms of what you should avoid, on the first day of Chinese New Year (25 January) you shouldn’t take any medicine, do laundry, wash your hair, sweep, or wear black or white. So now you know.

How you can celebrate Chinese New Year

Fear not, you don’t have to be in China to celebrate Chinese New Year. There are many cities around the world, notably London, New York, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, where you can join thousands watching parades, enjoying dragon and lion dances, and feasting on authentic Chinese food. So no matter where you are in the world on 25th January 2020, don’t forget to bid farewell to the Year of the Pig and welcome in the Year of the Rat. 

新年快乐 xīn nián kuài lè!

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