By Victor Gotevbe
Just as we entered into the New Year (2018) with so much festivity, for China it is not yet the Chinese New year. Chinese New Year is the first day of the New Year in the Chinese Calendar which differs from the Gregorian Calendar. It is also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar Year starts on Friday 16, 2018. The date fluctuates, from a Western perspective, but comes in either January or February.
Each Chinese New Year is designated as “the year of“ one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac or shengxiao (‘born resembling’), which animal is supposed to depict that year and all those born in it. Therefore, it is a repeating cycle of 12 years, with each year being represented by an animal and its reputed attributes.
Conventionally, these zodiac animals were used to date the years. Sequentially, the 12 animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. Each year is associated with a zodiac animal. 2017 was the year of the Rooster but 2018 is the year of the Dog.
Ranking as the eleventh animal in Chinese zodiac, Dog is the symbol of loyalty and honesty. It is generally believed that people born in the Year of the Dog possess the best traits of human nature. They are honest, friendly, faithful, loyal, smart, straightforward, venerable and have a strong sense of responsibility.
Chinese New Year is the most significant annual event for people of Chinese descent globally. It has more than 4000 years of history and the traditions involved are deeply ingrained in Chinese culture. For many, it is also a religious holiday, full of prayers, offerings, and other acts of devotion.
The Spring Festival is a national holiday in China. A lot of people tidy up their homes to welcome the Spring Festival. They put up the red posters with poetic verses on it to their doors, Chinese New Year pictures on their walls, and beautify their homes with red lanterns. It is also an occasion to come together with families.
Many set off fireworks and firecrackers, hoping to throw away any misfortune and bring forth good luck. Children often receive “fortune” money. Many people wear new clothes and send Chinese New Year greetings to each other. Various activities such as beating drums and striking gongs, as well as dragon and lion dances, are all part of the Spring Festival festivities.
In Nigeria, 2018 Chinese New Year will be celebrated by His Excellency, Chao Xiaoliang, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China and Mr. Guan Zhongqi the Deputy Consul General of the Chinese Consulate with other Senior Consulate staff will welcome invited guests and Chinese nationals resident in Lagos to a reception in Victoria Island, Lagos on February 3, 2018. Prominent personalities from all walks of life including the Media will be in attendance to celebrate t in advance the 2018 Chinese New Year. The event is strictly by invitation.