Happy Lunar New Year! 2020 is the Year of the Rat

Happy Lunar New Year!

Although China uses the Gregorian calendar (meaning it's the year 2020 there, just like in the U.S.), its holidays are governed by the traditional lunisolar calendar, according to National Geographic.

The Lunar New Year, also called the Spring Festival in China, falls on different days according to the moon phase. This year, it falls on Jan. 25.

While the festival is celebrated differently throughout the world, all celebration is centered around reunion and hope.

Some traditions including lighting firecrackers and decorating with the color red.

The festival lasts around 40 days, and China observes a seven-day-long state holiday. On the eve of the new year, families celebrate with massive dinners hosted by their most senior member. This year, China Daily predicts more than 3 million will travel to their Chinese hometowns to celebrate with close family and friends.

The deadly new coronavirus outbreak, however, is hanging over the holiday. Lunar New Year festivities were canceled across mainland China on Saturday and scaled back in the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong.

The Chinese Zodiac, a system that has existed in Chinese culture for more than 2,000 years, dictates which animal represents a given year.

The cycle repeats every 12 years, and 2020 is the Year of the Rat.

Different characteristics are assigned to each animal, and this is traditionally used to determine fortune.

The rat, for example, is associated with wealth and high fertility, and people born in the Year of the Rat are supposed to be optimistic and likable.

Here are the 12 zodiac animals in order with accompanying years:

  • 2021: Year of the Ox
  • 2022: Year of the Tiger
  • 2023: Year of the Rabbit
  • 2024: Year of the Dragon
  • 2025: Year of the Snake
  • 2026: Year of the Horse
  • 2027: Year of the Goat
  • 2028: Year of the Monkey
  • 2029: Year of the Rooster
  • 2030: Year of the Dog
  • 2031: Year of the Pig

  • Note: The video in the media player above was produced in 2019, the Year of the Pig.
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