Chinese New Year inspiration

Chinese Zodiac
Yesterday was the Chinese New Year, the most important of traditional Chinese festivals. You think of the dragon dancing in the parade, Chinese lanterns and red envelopes. I always look up what’s next in the Chinese zodiac.

This year is the 30th year in the Chinese 60 year cycle. It’s the year of the Water Snake. The five elements of the earth are very important in traditional Chinese mythology, and they have a 12 animal zodiac that corresponds with each year. The Yin and Yang also play a role in the Chinese New Year.

You can see a little bit about this in this table via Wikipedia:

“This table shows the stem/branch year names, correspondences to the Western (Gregorian) calendar, and other related information for the current decade.[8] (These years are all part of the 79th sexagenary cycle, or the 78th if an epoch of 2637 BC is accepted.) Or see this larger table of the full 60-year cycle.”

Jiǎzǐ (甲子)
Gānzhī (干支) Year of the…
[Note 1]
[Note 2]
[Note 3]
New Year’s Day
(chūnjié, 春節)
15 5/3 wùyín (戊寅) Earth Tiger 4696 1998 January 28
16 6/4 jǐmǎo (己卯) Earth Rabbit 4697 1999 February 16
17 7/5 gēngchén (庚辰) Metal Dragon 4698 2000 February 5
18 8/6 xīnsì (辛巳) Metal Snake 4699 2001 January 24
19 9/7 rénwǔ (壬午) Water Horse 4700 2002 February 12
20 10/8 guǐwèi (癸未) Water Goat 4701 2003 February 1
21 1/9 jiǎshēn (甲申) Wood Monkey 4702 2004 January 22
22 2/10 yǐyǒu (乙酉) Wood Rooster 4703 2005 February 9
23 3/11 bǐngxū (丙戌) Fire Dog 4704 2006 January 29
24 4/12 dīnghài (丁亥) Fire Pig 4705 2007 February 18
25 5/1 wùzǐ (戊子) Earth Rat 4706 2008 February 7
26 6/2 jǐchǒu (己丑) Earth Ox 4707 2009 January 26
27 7/3 gēngyín (庚寅) Metal Tiger 4708 2010 February 14
28 8/4 xīnmǎo (辛卯) Metal Rabbit 4709 2011 February 3
29 9/5 rénchén (壬辰) Water Dragon 4710 2012 January 23

**From Wikipedia**

Western Zodiac

What intrigues me about the Chinese zodiac is just the differences and similarities with other calendars that we are more familiar with. We have our own astrological zodiac that I’m sure most people have heard of in Western culture. (I’m a Sagittarius.) Both the Chinese zodiac and the Western zodiac attach significance to a person’s date and time of birth. However, the Chinese place more emphasis on lunar phases and on birth years, whereas western culture places more emphasis on solar phases and the month a person is born. (Here’s a pretty good crash course in the differences between the two. I like this site, too.)

What I’m most interested in, though, is how many of these types of calendars, zodiacs, and other methods of tracking spans of time that have been developed over the years of human existence. Some writers have developed their own as well, in their fiction books. All have their own traditions, specifics, etc., along with the people (and fanatics) who follow them. I enjoy learning about all of these, seeing their differences and similarities and what people have come up with for characteristics of these signs.

How well do you match up with your sign, in both zodiacs? What other zodiacs or calendars do you know of or enjoy learning about? Do you have a favorite created by a fiction author?

I'm a lover of writing and books. I graduated from South Dakota State with a master's degree in communications in 2011, the same year I was first published. I'm a wife and mom, and I work in content and digital marketing in South Dakota.

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