鼠 Rat | 子 Zǐ | February 19, 1996 | February 7, 2008 |
牛 Ox | 丑 Chǒu | February 7, 1997 | January 26, 2009 |
虎 Tiger | 寅 Yín | January 28, 1998 | February 14, 2010 |
兔 Rabbit | 卯 Mǎo | February 16, 1999 | February 3, 2011 |
龍 Dragon | 辰 Chén | February 5, 2000 | January 23, 2012 |
蛇 Snake | 巳 Sì | January 24, 2001 | February 10, 2013 |
馬 Horse | 午Wǔ | February 12, 2002 | January 31, 2014 |
羊 Sheep | 未 Wèi | February 1, 2003 | February 19, 2015 |
猴 Monkey | 申 Shēn | January 22, 2004 | February 8, 2016 |
雞 Rooster | 酉 Yǒu | February 9, 2005 | January 28, 2017 |
狗 Dog | 戌 Xū | January 29, 2006 | February 16, 2018 |
豬 Pig | 亥 Hài | February 18, 2007 | February 5, 2019 |
Chinese New Year decoration in London's Chinatown
Thelunisolar Chinese calendar determines Chinese New Year dates. The calendar is also used in countries that have adopted or have been influenced by Han culture (notably the Koreans, Japanese and Vietnamese) and may have a common ancestry with the similar New Years festivals outside East Asia (such as Iran, and historically, the Bulgars lands).
In the Gregorian calendar, Chinese New Year falls on differentdates each year, a date between January 21 and February 20. In the Chinese calendar, winter solstice must occur in the 11th month, which means that Chinese New Year usually falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice (rarely the third if an intercalary month intervenes). In traditional Chinese Culture, lichun is a solar term marking the start of spring, which occurs about February 4.The dates for Chinese New Year from 1996 to 2019 (in the Gregorian calendar) are at the left, along with the year's presiding animal zodiac and its earthly branch. The names of the earthly branches have no English counterparts and are not the Chinese translations of the animals. Alongside the 12-year cycle of the animal zodiac there is a 10-year cycle of heavenly stems. Each of the ten heavenlystems is associated with one of the five elements of Chinese astrology, namely: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. The elements are rotated every two years while a yin and yang association alternates every year. The elements are thus distinguished: Yang Wood, Yin Wood, Yang Fire, Yin Fire, etc. These produce a combined cycle that repeats every 60 years. For example, the year of the Yang Fire Ratoccurred in 1936 and in 1996, 60 years apart.
Many confuse their Chinese birth-year with their Gregorian birth-year. As the Chinese New Year starts in late January to mid-February, the Chinese year dates from January 1 until that day in the new Gregorian year remain unchanged from the previous Gregorian year. For example, the 1989 year of the snake began on February 6, 1989. The year 1990 isconsidered by some people to be the year of the horse. However, the 1989 year of the snake officially ended on January 26, 1990. This means that anyone born from January 1 to January 25, 1990 was actually born in the year of the snake rather than the year of the horse. Many online Chinese Sign calculators do not account for the non-alignment of the two calendars, using Gregorian-calendar years ratherthan official Chinese New Year dates.
One scheme of continuously numbered Chinese-calendar years assigns 4707 to the year beginning February 14, 2010, but this is not universally accepted; the calendar is traditionally cyclical, not continuously numbered.
Hand-painted Chinese New Year's poetry pasted on the sides of doors leading to people's homes, Lijiang, Yunnan, PRC.
According totales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nien (Chinese: 年; pinyin: nián). Nien would come on the first day of New Year to devour livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the...