Chinese New Year
Also known as the Lunar New Year, this is the most important traditional holiday in Chinese culture.
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Chinese New Year Dates
The time that Chinese New Year happens is based off of the lunisolar calendar. That means that instead of basing the calendar off the sun, the phases of the moon are taken into account when determing the year as well as the solar year. The Gregorian Calendar (the one that is commonly used in American and elsewhere) is not taken into account when determing the time of the New Year. Therefore, the beginning of the Gregorian New Year and the beginning of the Lunar New Year will differ by one to two months.
This causes a problem when attempting to calculate a lunar date based on a Gregorian date, that being some will not take into consideration the difference and will assume the beginning of the Gregorian year is the same as the beginning of the Lunar year. This leads to the assumption that those born in the time from the Gregorian New Year to the Lunar New Year will be counted in that Lunar Year. Careful examination will show that this is not the case. Therefore, it is a good idea to check the dates for Lunar New Years before attempting to convert dates from the Gregorian to the Lunar.
The 12 Zodiac Animals - The Years
The Chinese zodiac is one that has a 12 year cycle, having 12 different animals - one for each year. Those animals are as follows (linked to pages on Wikipedia for more information):
It is believed that the animal associated with the year that you're born in will affect you and your life and will also give you the personalities associated that particular animal.
The Inner Animals - The Months
This is an interesting concept of Chinese Astrology in that it is one that deals with a person's inner persona, movitivation and love life. The Inner Animals, which correspond to the months of the lunar year, are the same animals that are associated with the Chinese Zodiac. Each animal has a one month period to which it is associated and also corresponds to a particular season, or fixed element. This is important because it is said that the fixed element will impart some of its characteristics to the associated sign, or animal.
The Secret Animals - The Hours
This is a rather peculiar aspect of the Chinese Astrology. Based on the time of birth, it is said one is able to predict a person's sign with the greatest accuracy as the exact time is being measured. One needs to consult a table of data in order to determine the animal.