The Chinese New Year, sometimes referred to as the Lunar New Year, begins on the first new moon between January 21st and February 20th. Each new year is characterised by one of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac. The 25th of January 2020 will see the Chinese Year of the Rat begin. Here's our top 5 things to know about the upcoming year and the festivities surrounding it.
1. This year will be the Year of the Metal Rat
As well as being assigned one of the zodiac animals, each new year is also given one of five elemental signs. These signs are wood, fire, earth, metal and water.
This coming Year of the Rat will have the metal elemental sign. Those born during this year are said to be destined to live stable and reliable lives. However, they may be prone to stubbornness.
2. The Rat is the first animal of the Chinese zodiac
Each year is allocated its animal according to the cycle of the Chinese zodiac.
According to ancient Chinese folklore, the order of this cycle was determined by a race. The Jade Emperor wanted to determine which animals should be his guards. The first twelve animals to arrive at the Emperor's gates would be in his guard, and the order they arrive would determine their rank.
The Rat arrived first by hitching a ride with the Ox to cross the river. When they got over the river, the Rat rushed ahead and arrived first. The Ox then arrived in second place.
The Tiger came third, and the Rabbit came fourth. These speedy animals both raced as fast as they could to the gates. The Horse and the Goat arrived next, both being kind and polite to one another and not minding who came first. Then came the Monkey, the Rooster, the Dog and finally the Pig.
This story and the folklore surrounding it is why the Rat takes its place as the first animal of the zodiac.
3. Your luck this year depends on your Chinese zodiac sign
Chinese astrology says that a person's zodiac sign has an impact on their luck for the following year. Notably, people should be wary during the year of their own birth sign. However, the fact that this next year has the metal elemental sign means that those born under the Rat won't be too badly affected by this superstition and may experience prosperity in their careers.
Those who were born during the Year of the Tiger, Rabbit, or Horse will enjoy good luck during the coming year, especially in matters relating to education and finance.
4. There are certain things you should avoid doing on the first day of the year
A number of fascinating superstitions surround Chinese New Year. There are many things that you should avoid doing on the day of the lunar New Year to avoid bad luck. These include washing your hair, eating porridge, and wearing black and white clothing.
Another example is that it's considered very unlucky to speak any negative words aloud on the first day of the year. This includes words like death, pain, and poor. The belief is that speaking these words will jinx you for the next year.
To encourage good luck, tradition states that you should make sure your home is clean and tidy before the new year begins. Red is the colour associated with the festival, so it's good luck to adorn your house with red decorations and wear red clothing. It's also suggested that you should light red firecrackers on the first day of the new year. This will scare away any evil spirits.
5. Festivities last until the Lantern Festival
Traditionally, people celebrate the lunar new year for fifteen days. On the fifteenth day, the Lantern Festival is held to mark the end of the festivities. This coincides with the first full moon of the new year.
As the name suggests, the Lantern Festival involves lining the streets with paper lanterns. A popular custom is to to have riddles written or printed onto the paper lanterns for children to solve.
Celebrate the Year of the Rat with Jewellery
If you're excited about this coming lunar year, we think a great way to celebrate is with commemorative jewellery - especially as the elemental sign of the year will be metal!
For those with a Nomination bracelet, this King Rat charm link will make a very special addition to your collection.
In honour of the Year of the Rat, Pandora have released a new Chinese Zodiac collection. Celebrate the new year with this adorable Shining Rat charm.
For any Disney lovers out there, Pandora have also released two new Mickey and Minnie charms to celebrate the New Year.
Shop Pandora's Chinese New Year collection at The Jewel Hut with free delivery available.