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Chinese New Year 2011 – The Year of The Metal Rabbit

Topics: Holidays | Add A CommentBy admin | February 2, 2011

It’s interesting that in our anglocentrism we call the first day of the Chinese year 4078 “Chinese New Year 2011″. So what does the Chinese Year of the Metal Rabbit have in store for us? Ask your Feng Shui stockbroker.

Red envelopes with money in them are a
traditional Chinese New Year Gift. We’re
not Chinese, so you can just use Paypal
to wish us a happy new year
if you like.

If – like many Americans – you’re ignorant of even the most basic aspects of other cultures, what better time to learn something about them than Chinese New Year? Especially since if things keep going the way they have been, there’s a good chance that you’ll be providing the cheap labor for their foreign manufacturing instead of the other way around, as you’re accustomed. To paraphrase Yakov Schmirnoff: “In capitalist China, cheap labor utilizes YOU“. So why not prepare to impress your future employer now? My first experience with Chinese New Year was kind of interesting; I once managed a Chinese restaurant for several years. Each year, about a month after the western new year, I created my own tradition by granting myself a kind of amnesty for my failed new year’s resolutions. This seemed totally acceptable at the time; as far as I could ascertain, even after working side by side with Chinese people every day for three years, all Chinese New Year meant was a nice bonus from the boss, eating a huge dinner, playing a lot more Mah Jong than usual, and maybe receiving a brightly-colored tin of Moon Cakes (not to be confused with Moon Pies, of course). Whenever I asked about the traditions of Chinese New Year and the whole “Year of the [Insert Animal]” thing, I got the same kind of answer you’d get from an American when you ask them about their holidays. A sort of muttering “well, I think maybe it’s because, um….” followed by a round of speculative discussion amongst a bunch of people who had no idea what they were talking about, with a stealthy transition back to the partying at hand. For some reason though, this year I couldn’t tolerate my own ignorance any more, and decided to do some research. You should pay attention here too. It’s always good to learn about other cultures, right? Even if it doesn’t promote global harmony and understanding, at least you end up knowing exactly why you fear or hate an entire race of people you’ve never met face to face. So first of all, you need to understand that the reason the date of Chinese New Year is never the same on the western calendar is that the Chinese calendar is Lunisolar, rather than Solar, like the western calendar. Which sounds technical, but it’s actually quite simple. The Chinese calendar has twelve months, just like ours, and every second or third year it has an intercalary month to make things work out. Wikipedia breaks it down for us: “The sun always passes the winter solstice during month 11. If there are 12 months between two successive occurrences of month 11, not counting either month 11, at least one of these 12 months must be a month during which the sun remains within the same zodiac sign throughout (no principal term or cusp occurs within it). If only one such month occurs, it is designated intercalary, but if two such months occur…..” OKAY, OKAY! Never mind that. All you need to do to know what Chinese year it is and when to celebrate the new year is look it up on the internets! For a little background though, you might find it interesting to read a little about the Chinese Zodiac, which explains why the year 4078 (2011 in the west) is the Year of the Rabbit, and what that really means. And if you really want to chase this down the rabbit hole, it happens to be the year of the Metal Rabbit, which according to Feng Shui investment experts is going to be volatile.