For millions of people around the world, the new year does not officially begin until February 5th. On this date, the Chinese New Year (otherwise known as Lunar New Year) kicks off a two-week long celebration involving fun festival activities, like parades and fireworks, in addition to important cultural traditions, like gift exchanges and temple visits.
The new year celebration culminates on the final, fifteenth day with the Lantern Festival, which holds great cultural and historical significance. While the final day of celebrations is filled with family gatherings, it’s also a special time for creating new unions. In Ancient China, the day of the Lantern Festival was one of the few times a year women were permitted the freedom to leave their homes. This freedom gave women hope to develop new relationships with men, which has led it to being considered as Chinese Valentine’s Day.
This Lunar New Year will usher in the Year of the Pig. The year’s zodiac animal naturally has special cultural significance; it sets the tone for the year and acts as a yearly guide for followers of the Chinese zodiac. Much like the astrological zodiac, the Chinese zodiac is believed to influence our future, our personalities, and our relationships with others.
The mythical dragon is one of the most respected creatures in all of Chinese culture. They are seen as both powerful and loving. A major trait of both men and women born in the year of the dragon is their dedication to independence and freedom. People born under the dragon are confident, and although they care deeply for others, they do not consider personal relationships among their most important life goals. Instead, they care for others, but focus more intensely on personal freedom and career goals.
The celebrations of the Lunar New Year are intensely family-focused. Much like the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays in the US, families reunite, exchange gifts, and wish each other well for the coming year. This tattoo embodies the family-oriented nature of the Lunar New Year, as it gathers the animals representing the birth years of each member of this individual’s family. The rooster, dog, rabbit, and rat come together, flanked by the family name.
In Chinese culture, rabbits go hand-in-hand with the moon because of their perceived purity. Rabbits, both the animal and those born in the year of the rabbit, are soft and sweet. However, they also possess a hidden strength, masked well by their seemingly weak appearance. They are goal-oriented and unperturbed by possible setbacks. Not only do those born during the year of the rabbit possess both beauty and positivity, they also have wealths of energy to pursue their dreams.
Although snakes are symbols of darkness in many cultures, snakes are admired in Chinese culture. According to folklore, “Nǚ Wā (女娲), the creator of the world in Chinese mythology, had a human’s head and a snake’s body.” The snake is therefore associated with the origin of life itself.
Each member of the Chinese zodiac is respected for different reasons. They each have different strengths and weaknesses, and they forecast different fortunes for each year. 2019 is the year of the pig, an animal that portends wealth and happiness. However, those who were and are born in the year of the pig are likely to experience greater hardship than is ordinary. For this year, it is best for those born under the pig to focus their energy on endurance. To minimize the bad luck that the year of one’s birth can bring, people born during the year of the pig should remain strong and hopeful.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the official position of PainfulPleasures.