January 01, 2017
Happy New Year, Red Roosters!
A warm welcome to 2017, the new Year of the Rooster!
We’re talking about the Chinese Zodiac of course, and although the Chinese New Year doesn’t officially begin until 28th January 2017, we wanted to take a look at the meaning and importance of the Chinese calendar, as well as what exciting things the upcoming lunar year has in store for us.
What is the Chinese Zodiac?
The Chinese zodiac, or ‘shengxiao’ (meaning ‘born resembling’) is a repeating cycle of 12 years, with each year being represented by a different animal. Much like the traditional zodiac signs of Western astrology (Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces etc), your corresponding animal represents a specific set of values, characteristics and attributes.
Meet the animals!
1. Rat – Versatile, quick-witted, smart, curious, intuitive, opportunistic
2. Ox – Diligent, dependable, determined, ambitious, patient, stubborn
3. Tiger – Brave, confident, unpredictable, popular, charming, irritable
4. Rabbit – Gentle, elegant, alert, kind, responsible, melancholy
5. Dragon – Tenacious, courageous, intelligent, ambitious, enthusiastic, aggressive
6. Snake – Wise, private, good thinkers, intuitive, enigmatic, materialistic
7. Horse – Active, energetic, sociable, humorous, cunning, self-centered
8. Goat – Calm, stable, amicable, creative, resilient, insistent
9. Monkey – Sharp, smart, mischievous, playful, inquisitive, restless
10. Rooster – Observant, hardworking, resourceful, courageous, honest, vain
11. Dog – Loyal, amiable, kind, sincere, good-natured, can be critical
12. Pig – Compassionate, generous, devoted, calm, responsible, gullible
Unlike the Western Zodiac, the Chinese Zodiac is determined by the year you were born in, not the date range within that year. If you’re not sure which animal you’re represented by, here’s an online calculator to help you find out!
Why am I a rat/pig/monkey/dragon/rabbit etc?
Don’t be disheartened if you turn out to be a rat or pig. Each animal has been especially chosen for its importance in everyday ancient Chinese life, or for its mystical meaning. For example, the ox, goat, dog, pig, rooster and horse were used domestically for thousands of years, as well as still today. While the rat, tiger, dragon, snake and monkey are much-loved by Chinese people and prominent in ancient mythology.
Perhaps even more interesting, is the order in which the animals appear. This is down to Chinese Yin and Yang Theory, and based on the number of claws/toes/hoofs each animal possesses. Even numbers take the Yin, while odd numbers take the dominant Yang. Because the rat is unique in having four toes on its front legs (Yin) and five toes on its hind legs (Yang), it is the first sign and is overall considered Yang (because 5+4=9, which is an odd number).
The good, the bad and the Tai Sui.
2017 is a Rooster year (or Red Rooster to be exact, as 2017 is also a ‘fire’ year), but all you Roosters shouldn’t get too excited just yet. In Chinese astrology, the year of your birth sign (or your ‘Ben Ming Nian’, meaning ‘origin [of] year life’) is traditionally the most unlucky of all! Why? Because people in their zodiac year are believed to offend the God of Age, Tai Sui, and incur his bad luck wrath. Yikes.
So tread carefully, Roosters, the new year may be poised to ruffle some feathers! Luckily though, there are some top tips anyone can employ to avoid bad luck during your Ben Ming Nian:
- Wear something red, ideally gifted by an older relative. Whatever you do, DO NOT buy it yourself, or the good luck won’t work! (Red stands for prosperity, success and happiness in Chinese culture).
- Accompany your red clothing with jade accessories, for an extra injection of good fortune.
- Face the right direction! Yep, each year Tai Sui is in a different position, so simply facing the other way may have a positive effect on your wellbeing. In 2017, Tai Sui is West, so turn your bed, desk and favourite chair towards the East and you’ll be feeling luckier already.
If none of these options work … well … it’s only a year! And you’ve got a whole 11 luck-filled years to wait until your next Ben Ming Nian.
Wishing you a happy and prosperous 2017, whatever your animal sign!
Lots of love and Happy New Year, from all at One Day Creative xx