Welcome the year of the horse!
Chinese New Year 2014 the year of the horse begins on January 31st and runs to February 15th. This is in accordance with the lunar calendar which revolves around the phases of the moon. January 31st is the first full moon.
The horse is the 7th animal on the Chinese zodiac and earned his spot when he lost to the snake in the famous race held by the Jade Emperor.
The Great Race
As legend tells it, many years ago the Jade Emperor, on his birthday ordered a swimming race. The first twelve animals to swim across a quick flowing river would each have a year of the zodiac named after them. The rat and the cat were close friends and jumped on the back of the ox in order to get a ride across however, before reaching the shore the rat pushed the cat into the water and jumped ahead of the ox as they reached the other side winning the race and earning himself the first year on the calendar. The Ox being tricked by the rat came in second. The tiger then climbed ashore exhausted from swimming the river and finished third. Next to finish was the rabbit however he didn't swim. Instead he hopped on a log and floated along. The Dragon finished fifth and could easily have won the race since he could fly however he stopped to help the rabbit along by blowing a nice wind to move the log along. Next to finish was our horse; Well almost. As the horse came to shore the Snake who had hidden in the horse's hoof jumped out and startled the horse thereby slipping across the finish line in sixth place. The horse had to be satisfied with seventh place. The goat, monkey and rooster finished next by working together to share a raft they found and paddled across. The 11th animal the swim the river was the dog. When the Jade emperor asked him why he was late, the dog responded that the water was so warm that he stopped to bathe! The final animal to reach the shore was the Boar who had stopped to eat, got tired and took a nap. Where is the cat? Still struggling in the water the cat didn't finish the race and has hated the rat ever since.
If you were born in 1978, 1990 or 2002(adding or subtracting 12 years) you were born under the sign of the horse. The horse is one of Chinese favorite animals. The horse provides people quick transportation (before automobiles), so people can quickly reach their destinations. The horse even can help people to win the battle. Therefore the Horse is a symbol of traveling, competition and victory. That's why Horse is connected to speedy success in China. People born in the year of the horse are kind, cheerful, and clever although they tend to talk too much. They are kind to others, and like to join in a venture career. They are cheerful, perceptive, talented, earthy but stubborn. They like entertainment and large crowds. They are popular among friends, active at work and refuse to be reconciled to failure, although their endeavor cannot last indefinitely.
People born under the sign of the horse are usually impatient and hot blooded about everything other than their daily work. They are independent and rarely listen to advice. Failure may result in pessimism. They usually have strong endurance but with bad temper. Flamboyant by nature, they are wasteful since they are not good with matters of finance due to a lack of budgetary efficiency. Some of those who are born in the year of the horse like to move in glamorous circles while pursuing high profile careers
Horses like to compete with others. They strive for their freedom, passion and leadership. That implies that people will have busy schedule for their goals in the year of Horse. "Horse hour" of Chinese Horoscopes is from 11 A.M. to 1 P.M. Sunshine generates lots of heat during the Horse hour. Therefore, horse is connected to heat, fire and red. Horses like the social activities, because horses like show off themselves. Since horse is a social animal and red is also connected to love, therefore, horse is treated as a Romantic Star in Chinese Horoscope.
New Year Traditions Fireworks
Fireworks are used to drive away the evil in China. Right after the 12:00PM of the New Year's Eve, fireworks will be launched to celebrate the coming of the New Year as well as driven away the evil. It is believed that the person who launched the first Fireworks in the New Year will get good luck.
Shou Sui means after the New Year's Eve dinner, family member will normally stay awake during the night. Some people just stay until the mid night, after the fireworks. According to tales and legends, there was a mythical beast called the "Year". At the night of New Year's Eve, the "Year" will come out to harm people, animals, and proprieties. Later people found that the "Year" is afraid of red color, fire, and loud sound. Therefore, at the New Year's Eve night, people will launch fireworks, put on some fires, and stay awakes the whole night to fend off the "Year".
Red packet is a red envelope with money in it that range from one to a few thousand Chinese Yuan. Usually the red packet is given by adults, especially married couple, and elderly to young children in the New Year days. It was believed that the money in the red packet will suppress the evil from the children, keep the children healthy, and long living.
Famous people born under the sign of the horse include, Kristen Stewart, Emma Watson, Katie Holmes, Ashton Kutcher, Jerry Seinfeld, Harrison Ford Oprah Winfrey, John Travolta, Cindy Crawford, Jackie Chan, Denzel Washington, Barbara Streisand and Paul McCartney.