February 10 marked the entrance into the Chinese New Year, the most important of the traditional Chinese celebrations.
Entering the Year of the Snake
It is said that, in ancient times, Buddha summoned all the animals to see him on Chinese New Year. Twelve animals came, namely the rat, the dragon, the monkey, the ox, the snake, the rooster, the tiger, the horse, the dog, the rabbit, the goat and the pig. Buddha named a year after each of these animals, mentioning that the people born in each animal’s year would have that animal’s personality.
The Chinese year 4711, which began on 10 February, marks the Year of the Snake. According to the Chinese Zodiac, the people born under the sign of the Snake are wise, introverted, endearing and generous, traits shared by personalities such as Audrey Hepburn, Oprah Winfrey or Brad Pitt.
Celebrating the New Year
2013 is the Year of the Water Snake, which means that this will not be a year like any others under the dominion of the Snake. There is an abundance of the wood and fire elements, which will bring more negative energy. This means that the first part of the year will be especially difficult, but it will mellow down and end in high spirit, due to the water element, which is one of the positive elements.
The challenging beginning of the new year did not bring any worries. On the contrary, people all over the world rejoiced in celebration of a year under the government of one of the most powerful symbols. The snake is a fire sign and fire drives away bad luck. This is why people wore red clothes and handed children “lucky money” in red envelopes. Fire also banishes evil spirits, a reason why cities bathed in the light that came either from the incense burning in temples, or from the molten iron under which numerous dragon dances were performed.
The Chinese Lunar New Year brought enormous joy among people around the world, which was celebrated in a mixture of solemnity and feast that cannot be witnessed anywhere else.