Chinese New Year: Year of the Snake

| December 12, 2012

celebrating chinese new yearChinese New Year falls on a different day each year. Learn why and how to celebrate New Year’s in the Chinese tradition, then shop for party supplies with help from DexKnows listings.

The Traditional Chinese Calendar

The Chinese base their traditional calendar on a complex combination of lunar phases and solar solstices and equinoxes. To align the lunar and solar elements of the calendar, an extra month gets inserted every seven years within the calendar’s 19-year cycle. This results in Chinese New Year falling on a different day each year. In 2013, it will happen on Feb. 10. If this all sounds a bit confusing, not to worry: the Chinese adopted the Western calendar in 1912.

Chinese Zodiac: Year of the Snake

The Chinese zodiac cycle continues to align with the traditional Chinese calendar, with one of 12 zodiacal animals — rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig — and five elements — metal, wood, water, fire and earth — representing a given year. On Chinese New Year 2013, the year of the water snake will begin.

According to, a person born under the snake symbol can have many positive qualities, including being:

  • Intelligent
  • Graceful
  • Analytical
  • Hard-working
  • Diligent

They also have certain negative qualities, including being:

  • Materialistic
  • Scheming
  • Easily stressed
  • Easily bored
  • Jealous and obsessive

Also according to, the water snake will be influential, motivated, insightful and highly intellectual. Also, they will “work well with others and enjoy being recognized and rewarded. They’ll reveal feelings to those closest to them, but no one else.” If you want to learn which symbol and element you were born under, has an easy-to-use calendar.

The Traditional Chinese New Year Celebration

On Feb. 10, the traditional Chinese New Year celebration begins. It lasts 15 days and ends with the Lantern Festival. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day serve as family affairs, during which participants honor gods and ancestors through ritual sacrifices of food and paper icons. The Chinese also use various rites to bring good luck and long life to their family members. On the 15th day, the celebration includes lantern displays and parades.

Today’s Chinese New Year Celebration

The Chinese still celebrate the new year according to the traditional calendar. In fact, the government instituted a weeklong vacation during the period called Spring Festival in 1996. The annual Spring Festival Gala featuring traditional and contemporary singers captures the country’s attention, both on TV and in person.

How to Celebrate New Year’s in Traditional Chinese Style

If you would like to celebrate Chinese New Year in the traditional style with a party, you can do so without insulting the ancient ancestors. Menu items could include long noodles to symbolize long life and round dumplings as a sign of the family unit. Decorate with blooming plants to symbolize rebirth and new growth, as well as with pieces of red paper with positive wishes on them, such as, “May you enjoy continuous good health.” Chinese lanterns will complete the decor.

If you need help finding the appropriate party supplies, DexKnows can help. Listings also can point your toward Chinese New Year’s events, if you want to go out during the celebration.

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Category: New Year's

About the Author ()

Pamela Mitchell spent more than 15 years at daily newspapers such as the Hartford Courant and Houston Chronicle before becoming a full-time freelancer. She now writes about a variety of topics, from dining and entertainment to pets and travel.