CHINESE NEW YEAR: Here's everything you need to know

Today 20 marks the Chinese New Year. It's a big deal for 20 per cent of the world's population - the population of China is roughly 1.3 billion - but how much do you know about the celebration?

Monday, 8th February 2016, 11:39 am
Updated Monday, 8th February 2016, 12:55 pm
Chinese zodiac personality traits - ahead of the Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is a 16-day celebration, making the western equivalent look decidedly brief in comparison.

Celebrations start on New Year’s Eve - Sunday 7 February this year - and culminate with the lantern festival 15 days into the new year.

How to celebrate:

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New Year’s Eve - Marked by a family reunion meal, giving lucky red envelopes (filled with money) to children and staying up late in celebration

New Year’s Day - Marked with the setting of fireworks and the offering of sacrifices to ancestors

Day two to three - Marked by visiting friends and extended family

Day eight - This is when most people will go back to work

Day 15 - Marked with the lantern festival, more fireworks and the eating of sweet dumplings

This year will be the Year of the Monkey, so as well as wishing your friends and family: ‘Xīnnián hǎo’ (Happy New Year), you may wish to try something more complex specific to a Monkey year. How about this monkey-themed greeting?

“Hóunián sòng nǐ wǔzhī hóu: jīling guǐmì rú míhóu, jiànkāng kuàilè xiàng mǎhóu, yōuxián fùguì shì hóuzi, wúyōu wúlǜ bǐ yuánhóu,cōngmíng línglì shèng sūnhóu.”

Translation, according to “This Monkey year, I give you five monkeys: the ingenuity of the macaque, the health and happiness of the monkey, the leisure and wealth of monkey-kind,the lightheartedness of apes and monkeys,and intelligence and wit surpassing the Monkey King.”

Each new year is named after one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. These are the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

Like its western counterpart, the Chinese zodiac attributes certain personality traits to each star sign.

The personality of the monkey is thought to be mischievous and quick-witted, and people born under this sign are judged to be intelligent career high-flyers, but quick to anger with a tendency toward snobbiness.

Chinese Zodiac personality traits:

Rat: Intelligent, adaptable, quick-witted, charming, artistic, sociable

Ox: Loyal, reliable, thorough, strong, reasonable, steady, determined

Tiger: Enthusiastic, courageous, ambitious, leadership, confidence, charismatic

Rabbit: Trustworthy, empathic, modest, diplomatic, sincere, sociable, caretakers

Dragon: Lucky, flexible, eccentric, imaginative, artistic, spiritual, charismatic

Snake: Philosophical, organized, intelligent, intuitive, elegant, attentive, decisive

Horse: Adaptable, loyal, courageous, ambitious, intelligent, adventurous, strong

Goat: Tasteful, crafty, warm, elegant, charming, intuitive, sensitive, calm

Monkey: Quick-witted, charming, lucky, adaptable, bright, versatile, lively, smart

Rooster: Honest, energetic, intelligent, flamboyant, flexible, diverse, confident

Dog: Loyal, sociable, courageous, diligent, steady, lively, adaptable, smart

Pig: Honorable, philanthropic, determined, optimistic, sincere, sociable

Will you be celebrating the Chinese New Year? Send your pictures and stories to [email protected]