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Chinese New Year 2018 is upon us. But what is it? How is it celebrated? And are you among the unlucky few who should be worried about the Year of the Dog? 

What’s all this then?

The Chinese New Year is a big deal: a centuries-old tradition that brings millions of people together during a fortnight (often longer) of fabulous festivities, street parties and ceremonies.

Why is Chinese New Year celebrated at such an odd time?

We know what you’re thinking. 2018 has bolted out of the traps and the festive season already feels like forever ago. Well, the Chinese New Year is based on the lunisolar Chinese calendar, rather than the old familiar calendar you’re used to here in Blighty. Basically the date of the Chinese New Year depends on the moon, falling on the first day of the new moon between 21st January and 20th February.

What? Just tell me what date it is this year!

That will be 16th February, the first day of the Year of the Dog.

The year of the what?

Each Chinese New Year is represented by one of twelve animals from the Chinese zodiac, which are cycled through one-by-one on a twelve-year cycle. The upcoming year is the Year of the Dog. If you were born after 20th February in 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, 1934 or 1922, you may want to pay particular attention...

Ooooh, that’s me!

Congratulations. You were born in a previous Year of the Dog. According to Chinese mythology that makes you a loyal and helpful person with lots of integrity. Unfortunately you are not the best communicator and often appear stubborn. (Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.)

Your lucky numbers are three, four and nine. Your lucky colours are green, red and purple. Your lucky flowers are roses, oncidiums and cymbidium orchids. Oh and your lucky directions (yes, really) are east, southeast and south. And you may want to start running in those directions...

Why's that? Isn't this year all about me?

Sort of, but don’t pull the party poppers just yet. In Chinese astrology, the year of your sign is believed to bring you bad luck. Donald Trump is also a Year of the Dogger if it’s any consolation, which it probably isn’t.

Can you cheer me up?

Sure! Just get a load of the celebrations that take place. The revelry usually begins on the eve of New Year with the traditional reunion dinner (which is as sacrosanct as Christmas dinner is here) and continue until the fifteenth day of the New Year, culminating in a huge lantern festival. Other celebrations include lots of elaborate meals with your nearest and dearest and spectacular lion dances to bring good fortune (and ward off the evil Nian). Many employees get seven days of public holiday to enjoy the celebrations.

Sounds great, I want in.

Then it’s off to China for you! Don’t forget to get cheap, comprehensive travel insurance from us before you leave.

Woah, I’m not going that far...

Okay, okay. If the schlep to China is too far, Europe’s biggest Chinese New Year celebrations take place in London across Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and, of course, China Town. Expect fabulous food, martial arts exhibitions, traditional Chinese dances and flag displays - all taking place on Sunday 18th February. Big celebrations also take place in Paris in the 13th arrondissement, where 4,000 performers take to the streets to entertain a crowd of 200,000.


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