Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Eye of the Tiger

While the Gregorian calendar celebrated the beginning of the new year on January 1, the much more interesting Chinese year begins on February 14. I say "more interesting" because each Chinese year represents a different animal. Last year was the Year of the Ox, and the year before that was the Year of the Rat. But this year, this year is special. 2010 marks the Year of the Tiger, but, more importantly, it is my year.

The Chinese New Year revolves around 12 animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. For some reason, the panda -- which is the Chinese equivalent of the American eagle as a symbol of the nation --was excluded from the list.

Much like our monthly zodiacs, each animal has certain characteristics. Those born in the year of the dog are loyal and obedient people. Tigers are strong passionate people, but are often impatient.

The Lunar New Year begins on February 14 (also Valentine's Day). Celebrations usually begin the day before (or two days before) and last throughout the following week.

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