Chinese New Year, known in Chinese as the Spring Festival (Simplified Chinese: 春节; Traditional Chinese: 春節; pinyin: Chūnjié) or the Lunar New Year (Simplified Chinese: 农历新年; Traditional Chinese: 農曆新年; pinyin: Nónglì xīnnián), is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. The Chinese New Year festival begins on the first day of the first lunar month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: zhēng yuè) of the Chinese calendar, and ends on the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the month.
Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Chúxì (除夕). Chu literally means "change" and xi means "night".
It is unclear when the beginning of the year was celebrated before the Qin Dynasty. It is possible that the beginning of the year began with month 1 during the Xia Dynasty, month 12 during the Shang Dynasty, and month 11 during the Zhou Dynasty in China. We know that intercalary months, used to keep the lunar calendar synchronized with the sun, were added after month 12 during both the Shang Dynasty (according to surviving oracle bones) and the Zhou Dynasty (according to Sima Qian). In 104 BC, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty established month 1 as the beginning of the year, where it remains.
According to legend, in ancient China, the nián (年), a man-eating beast from the mountains, could silently infiltrate houses to prey on humans. The people later learned that the nian was sensitive to loud noises and the color red, so they scared it away with explosions, fireworks and the liberal use of the color red. These customs led to the first New Year celebrations. Guò nián (Simplified Chinese: 过年; Traditional Chinese: 過年), which means to celebrate the new year, literally means the passing of the nian beast.
Celebrated internationally in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered to be a major holiday for the Chinese as well as ethnic groups who were strongly influenced by Chinese culture. This includes Japanese, Koreans, Miao (Chinese Hmong), Mongolians, Vietnamese, Tibetans, the Nepalese and the Bhutanese (see Losar).
Chinese New Year is also the time of the the largest human migration, when overseas Chinese all around the world return home on the eve of Chinese New Year to have reunion dinners with their families.
Five Elements & YIN-YANG Dualism
The five elements 五行 (Jp = Gogyou, Ch = Wu Hsing) are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. The five were combined with the binary Yin-Yang system Yin 陰 (Jp = in) and Yang 陽 (Jp = you) resulting in ten "alternative" readings for the ten stems. In the 60-year cycle, odd years were classified as YANG years, even years as YIN. Even today, when the 60-year cycle reaches completion, some people in Japan who are 60-years of age hold a special birthday ceremony called kanreki 還暦. Additionally, Chinese ideas of illness, especially Taoist notions of illness as caused by imbalances of yin and yang forces in the body, were introduced to Japan probably by the late Nara or early Heian periods. Taoist notions embodied various concepts of the Zodiac calendar.
In China, the first celebrated exponent of the five-element theory was Tsou Yen (350 - 270 BC). The five energies were symbolized as (1) wood, which as fuel gives rise to (2) fire, which creates ash and gives rise to (3) earth, which in its mines contains (4) metal, which (as on the surface of a metal mirror) attracts dew and so gives rise to (5) water, and this in turn nourishes (1) wood. This is called hsiang sheng (相生), or the "mutually arising" order/cycle of the fundamental forces. These forces were also arranged in the order of "mutual conquest" (相勝) likewise read hsiang sheng, but sheng is a different ideogram -- in which (1) wood, in the form of a plow, overcomes (2) earth, which, by damming and constraint, conquers (3) water which, by quenching, overcomes (4) fire which, by melting, liquifies (5) metal, which, in turn, cuts (1) wood. Quoted from "TAO, The Watercourse Way" by Alan Watts.
In China, the Pig ( 亥 ) (a more correct form would be the Boar) is associated with fertility and virility. To bear children in the year of the pig is considered very fortunate, for they will be happy and honest.
The Chinese Lunar New Year 4705 (2007) is the 60th year of the cycle in the Chineses calendar. Its 60-year (sexagenary) cycle is still of crucial importance to modern art historians, for it helps them pinpoint the date of artwork made in much earlier times.
Because of it being the 60th year in the cycle, the year belongs to the element "gold" (metal) according to the five-element theory and is more commonly known as a "Gold Boar (pig)" year. It is believed that a person born in the “Gold Boar” year will be blessed with great fortune all through his/her life.
The Boar type is usually an honest, straightforward and patient person. He/she is a modest, shy character who prefers to work quietly behind the scenes. When others despair, he/she is often there to offer support. This type of person is reserved with those they do not know too well, but as time passes and they gain confidence, those around them may discover a lively and warm-hearted person behind that mask of aloofness. Despite those born in the year of pig having a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, they have few close friends who understand them and share their inner thoughts and feelings. It is easy to put trust in pig type; he/she won't let you down and will never even attempt to do so. Such people simply want to do everything right according to social norms.
It is important to remember that these people are not vengeful creatures. If someone tries to take advantage of him/her, the pig type tend to withdraw to reflect on the problem and protect themselves. All they need in such situations is a little time to find a constructive way to respond. The people of the pig type are conservative creatures of habit. They dislike being made to travel too far from familiar surroundings, unless it is a trip to the countryside. They love nature and are never happier than when they are out somewhere, far from the city.
There is a tolerant and peaceful side to their character. Such people are never afraid to allow others their freedom of expression; they do not want to cause arguments and if there is any way to avoid arguing, they will probably take this option. They are not weak, however, and if the situation forces them to fight these people will rise to the occasion, whether it is to defend themselves or those close to them. People of the Pig type are the most admired by others.