Lunar New Year, sometimes called Chinese New Year, begins on Friday, February 12, 2021.
The date of this celebration changes each year, based on traditional lunar calendars from China and other nearby cultures, and may fall anywhere between January 21 and February 20. It is celebrated in several nations, including China, Korea, Mongolia, Tibet and Vietnam. It is also celebrated all over the world by people who share this cultural heritage.
In mainland China it is known as the Spring Festival, or Chūn jié in Mandarin and Chēun jit in Cantonese (transcribed). In Vietnam it is known as Tết, short for Tết Nguyên Đán, or “Feast of the First Morning of the First Day.” People from different cultures and areas celebrate Lunar New Year in unique ways. Each culture has its own traditions. Some common themes are honoring ancestors, preparing special foods, cleaning and decorating the house, and giving gifts to children and other loved ones.
2021 is the Year of the Ox. There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. The animal zodiac cycle repeats every 12 years. Twelve Earthly Branches, symbolized by the animals, combine with ten Celestial Stems to form a 60-year cycle. These, along with five elements, make up the full zodiac. There are different legends and myths associated with the origin of the zodiac, which has existed in Chinese culture for more than 2,000 years.
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