More than a billion people around the world have ushered in the Year of the Snake with lively, noisy celebrations, fireworks, parades, parties, prayers and a general feeling of joy and hope for a prosperous year.
Lunar New year, often called Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is celebrated at a different time every year because it is based on the Chinese Lunar calendar.
This year, Lunar New Year which is the biggest and most important holiday for Chinese and other Asians around the world in Asia began on February 10th. It's a celebration that last for 15 days, ending with the Lantern Festival on February 28th.
Each year is associated with one of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. This year,. the celebrations marked the arrival of the Year of the Snake, which took over from the year of the Dragon.
Although the Chinese zodiac says the year of the Snake is considered a lucky one and has many positive features, it has a mixed reputation in China. While people associate it with wisdom and beauty, it also has connotations of pride and anger.
Neither Lucky nor Bad
The Snake is one of the less popular of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac and many perceive it negatively.
However, in an interview in The Telegram, Dong Yilin, a traditional fortune teller from Beijing, said he believes 2013 will be neither lucky, nor bad.
"2013 is the Year of the Snake. For people who were born under this Chinese zodiac sign, we cannot predict a very auspicious year, or a year of bad fortune.
Dong Yin admitted that the Year of the Snake is"perceived as being a bit negative.
"Perhaps because snakes like to be in the water or in the mud, people normally do not view it as a very auspicious sign. Another reason is that it has poison and can harm people, "
Some people choose to postpone their weddings and put off having children or making other big decisions to avoid them falling in the year of the Snake.
"In terms of finances and stocks this year will be more bullish than 2012. Globally, for the whole world, 2013 will be a better year financially, he said."
Traditional Chinese astrology believes being born during the year of he snake is a auspicious omen because it means nobody will ever go hungry in the household. This could be taken to mean that a Snake could never have a problem with his family starving because he is such a great mediator which makes him good in business.
Overall, people born in the Year of the Snake are considered lucky. They are also considered to be intelligent, but materialistic, and blessed with a graceful personality. They are keen analysts of any situation and compulsive achievers. Their materialistic nature also keeps them surrounded by luxury.
Unfortunately, the ancient scrolls predict bad news for a person's mental health this year and predicts a stressful year, with too much noise, which may lead to anxiety and tension.
Business ventures started by people of the Snake zodiac will usually be rewarded in the form of financial perks and recognition. However, the fact such people often display a lack of concentration may lead to fatigue and job hopping. The best career choices for those born in this sign are: astrologer, scientist, painter, sociologist, jeweller and dietitian.
Famous female Snakes include: Queen Elizabeth I, Elizabeth Hurley, Audrey Hepburn, Liv Tyler, Jacqueline Kennedy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Grace Kelly, Oprah Winfrey and Linda McCartney. Famous male snakes: Bob Dylan, Art Garfunkel, Dean Martin, Robert Mitchum, Brad Pitt, Mike Oldfield.
For more information and resources on Lunar Year check out the following:
- Chinese New Year (educ.uvic.ca)
- traditional New Year Foods
- Chinese New Year Decorations
- Taboos and Superstitions of Chinese New Year
- Chinese New Year or Spring Festival (Wikipedia) ( information
- Symbolic Chinese New Year Foods (About.com)
- Chinese Horoscopes This activity from National Geographic allows students to find their birth year animals and their related characteristics.
- Chinese New Year: This site offers information about current and past Chinese New Years, as well as information about the Chinese zodiac, how the dates for the holiday are determined, and more.
- Chinese New Year listening, reading and vocabulary activities from ESL Holiday Lessons.com
- Chinese New Year A listening activity from ELLLO
- Year of the Snake 2013 Celebrations: Photos and Video from the Huffington Post