The Chinese New Year is different each year because it is determined by the Lunar calendar (falling between the 21st January and the 20th February).
In 2018 it falls today, the 16th February.
It is the year of the Dog (the Earth Dog, to be precise).
The Chinese zodiac moves in a 12-year cycle (as opposed to a 12-month cycle) and the order of each animal is on account of a marvellous legend…
Many, many years ago the Jade Emperor ordered the animals to come forward to him and each of the first 12 animals became the ones to date the years.
The cat was too late, so he will always chase the rat, who scurried on ahead of him and became the first animal on the list. The animals were chosen, then categorised into yin and yang, depending on their odd or even number of claws, toes or hooves and then alternated into a sequence…
Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.
Like with the New Year, 31st December/1st January it is celebrated with an explosion of light, colour and noise. Streets are lined with swinging lanterns; festivities and parades and costumes abound. Money, good fortune and food become the focus.
In celebration of The Earth Dog I am very grateful to Hula from Hastings Old Town for posing as my Chinese New Year Dog Of 2018.
She’s a very well-travelled dog, at her most happy when playing in the garden or out for walks with her lovely family or when she dines on bacon rashers (don’t tell The Pig).
I am also pleased not to have to search for any of the other animals (see list).
Happy Chinese New Year.
Coming 2018 – a new book: ‘ A Worldly Tale Told Of Mothy Chambers’ by Kate Barnwell
Follow my blogs www.katebarnwell.com