In China, the celebration of the New Year is the biggest holiday of the year. This is the time for families to spend time together, to let go of the negative energy of the past and to welcome the spirit of renewal.
There are many different traditions associated with the celebrations, and they are often different for the different regions in China. One common tradition is to make time for a proper spring cleaning of the house to welcome and harness the energy of the new year, keeping the principles of feng shui in mind.
The day the New Year is celebrated is based on the new moon of the first Chinese lunar month. It is different from the typical New Year’s of January 1st, because it follows the lunar calendar. Therefore Chinese New Year falls on a different day every year between January 21st and February 20th.
This year it falls on February 16th and becomes the year of the Earth Dog.
The dog is the 11th of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs and 2018 is the year 4 715 on the Chinese calendar.
The earth dog is also known as the brown or yellow dog. Each of the five elements is associated with a dog year, in a repeating 60 year cycle, for instance:
The dog is a yang sign and its fixed element is metal. The ascribed season of the dog is autumn, and the dog time of day is between 7 and 9 pm.
People born between 7 and 9 pm in any year have the dog as their ascendent sign, and therefore share dog qualities or have a great affinity for people born in the year of the dog.
Chinese Medicine’s 24 hour body clock is divided into 12 two-hour intervals of qi moving through the organ system. According to the ancient Chinese Medicine principles of the internal organ clock theory, 7–9 pm is the pericardium (Hand Jue Yin) time of day. In classic literature it is considered to be the best time of the day to socialise – or go for a massage!
The character traits of the dog are loyalty, honesty and caution. Earth dogs in particular are known for their persistence and an eye for detail, and they often have good fortune in health.
Dogs may be prone to outbursts of anger, especially if wronged, but they do not bear grudges. They see through people’s bad intentions and guard against those that stand in the way of harmony. Although quiet, the brown dog wisely persuades and inspires others.
The dog is an ethical and idealistic sign that symbolises justice, openness, tolerance and innovation. For an interesting discussion on what the Year of the Dog may hold in store for world politics and the global economy, click here.
AACMA wishes everybody a very happy Chinese New Year!