新年快乐 Happy Chinese Year of the Wood Sheep!

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Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations, which began on Feb. 19, and go on for 15 days until the full moon, will say goodbye to the Year of the Horse and usher in another animal in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. 

Also termed as the ‘Spring Festival’, the new year of the Chinese calendar is an event of much fanfare and excitement. The celebrations kick off on the second new moon after the winter solstice, this year it’s February 19th, and end with the lantern festival on the 15th day of the first month in the Chinese calendar. In what has been referred to as the world’s biggest annual human migration, about three billion passenger trips will be made over the 40-day travel period as China celebrates the Spring Festival. That’s a lot of dudes, dude!

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Each of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac has unique characteristics and each year corresponds to one animal. 2015 corresponds to the Sheep. Or Goat or Ram. This isn’t a sudden identity crisis within the chinese calendar but instead a confusion of the chinese character or mandarin letter “yang”, which describes any horned grazing animal.

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In addition to the twelve year cycle corresponding to each of the animals in the Chinese Zodiac, there are Five Elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, water) which are associated with their own “life force” or “chi”. This energy blends with the corresponding animal to determine that year’s fortune. In 2015, the corresponding animal is Wood. Wood by its very nature, is the element associated with all living things, the “spring” or life renewal process. Wood relates to trees which relate to the color green. The Year of the Wood Sheep is therefore also known as the Year of the Green Sheep.

So what does it all mean? What do the characteristic of the Sheep mixed together with the elements of Wood bring? According to Chinese tradition, the Sheep is kind, tender and sympathetic. Sheeps are creative and elegant and because of their soft nature, they are symbolic of peace and harmony. Combined with the evergreen and renewal characteristics of Wood, the Sheep’s creativity will be unleashed. Watch this space as the Year unfolds…!

If last year was the Horse’s year to gallop and take off, this year will be the year for contemplating and appreciating what has already been accomplished, to think about bringing goodness to others, to take a deep breath and calmly look at what’s ahead. A steady path, generosity, and keeping the peace are this year’s mantra.

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That certainly sounds like a good philosophy to me! But it doesn’t appeal to everyone! Sheeps avoid confrontation and are not born leaders. It is because of these characteristics that being born in the Year of the Sheep is not that highly regarded by some Chinese who prefer the energetic and dynamic characteristics of some of the other signs, like the Dragon, Tiger and Horse. However, the Sheep is the 8th sign of the twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac, 8 is the lucky number for the Chinese, and being born under the 8th sign is auspicious indeed, and who wouldn’t want their child to be kind, forgiving and loyal? Sheep babies are good-hearted and will always look after everyone else first.

Get ready for an exciting and peaceful new year and

May the Year of the Green Sheep bring prosperity, wealth
and longevity to you and your loved ones!

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