The Chinese New Year was celebrated on the 12th of February. Unlike the rest of the world, the New Year celebrations in China last for 16 days. The highlights are the Spring Festival and the Lantern Festival. This year, the first begins on the 12th of February and lasts until the 22nd; the Lantern Festival, which wraps everything up, takes place from the 23rd to the 26th of February.
Another difference from the rest of the world is the zodiac signs. The Chinese zodiac assigns an animal to each year, following a precise rotation system. The 12th of February 2021 marks the end of the year of the Rat and the beginning of that of the Buffalo (or Ox). The first is the bearer of upheaval; the second is synonymous with solidity, tranquillity and also prosperity. The other animals of the Chinese horoscope? Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.
The 5 elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water – are what we in the West define as ascendants. Just like our horoscope, they also play a fundamental role in the Chinese calendar and astrology: 2021, to be precise, is the year of the Metal Buffalo.
The legend of the Chinese New Year has it that every 12 months, a predatory demon of living beings visited villages terrorising the inhabitants until it was defeated because of its fear of the colour red and loud noises. And here are some of the Chinese New Year customs explained. Festoons, lanterns and red flowers decorate houses and temples. Fireworks, drums, firecrackers and gongs accompany parades and spectacular traditional dances: that of the Dragon and that of the Lion that take place in the squares and streets of China and Chinatowns around the world, amid sounds and noises to scare the monster, carried by hand in the parades.
But the New Year in China is, above all, a family holiday: people come together and return home a week in advance before the New Year, in the period of preparations.
On the eve of the new year, it is traditional to dedicate oneself to house cleaning to sweep away bad luck. The evening before and the first day of celebration is spent at the table with relatives. Food plays a fundamental role. The dishes have symbolic meanings; they bring luck and prosperity. Fish is the main ingredient, and there are also ravioli, jiaozi, or niángāo rice dumplings, depending on the region.
On New Year's Eve, there is also the custom of exchanging gifts: the characteristic red envelopes with money inside.
But what characteristics will those born under the sign of the Metal Buffalo have? Those born under the sign of the Buffalo are known for their diligence, reliability, strength and determination. Honest by nature, people with the Buffalo sign are very ambitious. They attach great importance to family and traditions.