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Chinese New Year

Celebrate the New Year With a Rug!

By: Tatiana Knodel
The Year of the Snake

My acquaintance with the Chinese calendar began in the 1980s when many of my friends began to declare themselves as tigers or snakes and put on New Year’s Eve clothes of the appropriate color. At that time, very few people knew that the New Year in China is celebrated not on January 1 but on the second new moon after the winter solstice, which falls in the interval between January 21 and February 21. Each year the Chinese calendar has the name of a different animal. Every 12 years the names are repeated. Many legends tell the story, and here is one of the legends: One day, the Buddha invited all the animals that inhabit the earth for the New Year. To those who came first to congratulate him and express their respect, he promised to give a whole year, and that year would hereafter be called by their names. The mouse was the first. Behind her came a bull, then a tiger, a cat, a dragon, a snake, a horse, a sheep, a monkey, a rooster, and a dog. The pig came twelfth. Having taken possession of their own years, each animal endowed the typical features of its character to anyone who was born in that year.


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