The New Year, which officially starts on Saturday, is China's primary annual holiday and is traditionally marked by riotous displays of fireworks and countless firecrackers.
According to the Chinese zodiac, people born in the Year of the Rooster are brave, responsible and punctual.
Millions are expected to attend the festival across the world over the next two weeks, in one of the largest celebrations of the event outside of Asia.
It's Chinese New Year 2017, year of the Rooster! What's your Zodiac animal?
Chinese New Year 2017 - The Year of the Rooster - has begun and will last until February 15th, 2018.
The new year, also known as the Spring Festival, is marked by the lunisolar Chinese calendar, so the date changes from year to year.
The festivities usually start the day before the New Year and continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year.
Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese zodiac is divided into 12 blocks (or houses) just like its western counterpart, but with the major difference being that each house has a time-length of one year instead of one month.
This year it's the Year of the Rooster, the tenth animal in the cycle. The next Year of the Rooster will be in 2029.
Popular Chinese New Year Greetings
1. 新年好 / 新年好 (Xīnnián hǎo) 'New Year goodness!'
In Mandarin: /sshin-nyen haoww/
In Cantonese: /sen-nin haow/
2. 恭喜发财 / 恭喜發財 (Gōngxǐ fācái) 'Happiness and prosperity!'
In Mandarin: /gong-sshee faa-tseye/
In Cantonese: Kunghei fatchoy /gong-hey faa-chwhy/
3. 步步高升 / 步步高陞 (Bùbù gāoshēng) A steady rise to high places! — "on the up and up"
In Mandarin: /boo-boo gaoww-shnng /
In Cantonese: /boh-boh goh-sshin /
The personality of the Rooster
People born in the Year of the Rooster are characterised as honest, energetic, intelligent, flexible and confident. But according to Chinese astrology, the year of your sign is believed to be one of the most unlucky years of your life.
The general image of people in this zodiac sign is of always being hardworking, resourceful, confident and talented. In addition, their active, talkative and engaging ways make them popular with people. They are happiest when they are in company, enjoying the spotlight. Although they were born with enviable skills, they still have several shortcomings, such as being seen as vain and arrogant and a tendency to brag about their achievments.
Strengths: healthy, sporty, self-assured
Weaknesses: a little sensitive, stressed, moody
Lucky Signs for the Rooster
- Lucky numbers: 5, 7, 8
- Lucky colours: brown, gold, and yellow
- Lucky flowers: gladiola, cockscomb
- Lucky directions: south, southeast
- Famous people born under the rooster sign
Rudyard Kipling, Benjamin Franklin, Prince Philip, Nancy Reagan, Joan Collins, Dolly Parton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Beyonce, Eric Clapton, Yoko Ono.
Which Chinese Zodiac sign are you?
Your sign is derived from the year you were born in the Chinese lunar calendar.
The years below are a rough guide, but if you were born in January or February it may be slightly different as the new year moves between 21 January and February 20.
- Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960
- Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961
- Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962
- Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963
- Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964
- Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965
- Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966
- Sheep: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967
- Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968
- Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969
- Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970
- Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971
In Chinese astrology, the 12 animal zodiac signs each have unique characteristics.
- 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.
- Sheep: 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.
Chinese New Year's Day Taboos
To be avoided on the first day of the Chinese New Year:
1. Medicine: Taking medicine on the first day of the lunar year means one will get ill for a whole year.
2. New Year's breakfast: Porridge should not be eaten, because it is considered that only poor people have porridge for breakfast, and people don't want to start the year “poor” as this is a bad omen.
3. Laundry: People do not wash clothes on the first and second day, because these two days are celebrated as the birthday of Shuishen (水神, the Water God).
4. Washing hair: Hair must not be washed on the first day of the lunar year. In the Chinese language, hair (发) has the same pronunciation and character as 'fa' in facai (发财), which means ’to become wealthy’. Therefore, it is seen as not a good thing to “wash one’s fortune away” at the beginning of the New Year.
5. Sharp objects: The use of knives and scissors is to be avoided as any accident is thought to lead to inauspicious things and the depletion of wealth.
6. Going out: A woman may not leave her house; otherwise she will be plagued with bad luck for the entire coming year. A married daughter is not allowed to visit the house of her parents, as this is believed to bring bad luck to the parents, causing economic hardship for the family.
7. The broom: If you sweep on this day then your wealth will be swept away too.
8. Crying children: The cry of a child is believed to bring bad luck to the family, so parents do their best to keep children as happy as possible.
9. Theft: Having your pocket picked is believed to portend your whole wealth in the coming year being stolen.
10. Debt: Money should not be lent on New Year’s Day, and all debts have to be paid by New Year’s Eve. If someone who owes you money, do not go to his or her home to demand it. Anyone who does so it is said will be unlucky all the year.
11. An empty rice jar: An depleted receptacle may cause grave anxiety, as the cessation of cooking during the New Year period is considered to be an ill omen.
12. Damaged clothes: Wearing threadbare duds can cause more bad luck for the year.
13. Killing things: Blood is considered an ill omen, which will cause misfortunes such as a knife wound, or a bloody disaster.
14. Monochrome fashion: White or black clothes are barred as these two colours are traditionally associated with mourning.
15. Welcoming the New Year: According to tradition, people must stay up late on New Year’s Eve to welcome the New Year, and then to let off firecrackers and fireworks to scare off inauspicious spirits and Nian, the New Year monster.
16. Giving of certain gifts: Clocks, scissors, and pears all have a bad meaning in Chinese culture.
When does the party start?
The main celebrations in London, which are set to be the biggest outside Asia, are on Sunday January 29th.
Thousands of people are expected to mark the occasion in London's Chinatown, where a parade traditionally takes place.
It is expected to start at 10am, travelling along Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue in the West End before reaching Chinatown, but exact details are yet to be released.
In previous years the parade has included an official opening ceremony and entertainment such as acrobatics, traditional dance and music.
Chinese Wishing Tree
The ancient tradition of the Wishing Tree is synonymous with good luck and fortune, and the legend goes that hanging your hopes for the coming year on a Wishing Tree will encourage your dreams to come true.
Members of the public are invited to visit the tree and receive a bespoke wish written by an authentic Chinese calligrapher to take home along with a golden chocolate coin, for added good fortune.
Where to celebrate Chinese New Year in London, New York and beyond
There are 10 large Chinese communities to consider if you fancy celebrating the beginning of the Year of the Rooster in style. This guide offer a few pointers...
The Magical Lantern Festival
London has been selected as the first city outside the Far East to host the Magical Lantern Festival, a dazzling extravaganza of lights, music theatre, culture and art.
Tickets are now on sale from www.magicallantern.uk and runs from January 19 to February 26 at Chiswick House in west London.
Where to eat
Sophie Campbell, our London expert, makes her recommendation
Y Ming (020 7734 2721; yming.co.uk) 35-36 Greek Street, W1: This place is small, friendly, not in the least bit interested in being hip and serves northern Chinese food, rather than the Cantonese you normally find in London. The vegetarian options are great and they do a pre-theatre menu for £12.
Try the soft shell crab (£8.50) or the beef with coriander in a wrap (£11). They also say on the menu that if you want Peking Duck done properly it requires four hours' notice, so that's on my wish list.
And I do like dim sum at the Royal China on Queensway, Bayswater (020 7221 2535; rcguk.co.uk), partly because of the workmanlike servicing of huge circular tables full of Chinese families, business people and locals, and partly because they do great dumplings.
I'm a sucker for the Shaolin Monk Hotpot, which has lots of bean curd in it and I always hope will be thrown across the room by a martial artist, and they do the sublime Mango Pudding, loathed by everyone I know except me. I consider it right up there in the culinary pantheon with Jam Roly Poly. They've got a number of other sites in London. There's a good one on Baker Street.
...Or try cooking at home