Celebrate Chinese New Year 2014!

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31st January 2014 is the start of the Chinese New Year.   This year is the Year of the Horse.   Start afresh and learn to speak one of the most important languages in the world – Mandarin Chinese. We introduce our top 5 ways to learn Mandarin, featuring some of the best and most innovative language providers in the world.

The festivities for the Chinese New Year – also known as the Spring Festival – usually last for 15 days starting before the New Year and the full moon and include many celebrations such as: spring cleaning, fireworks, bursting of crackers, lion dance, lantern festivals, Chinese New Year Eve family dinners and Chinese New Year Day holiday. If you’re around, go and join in the festivities. Some of the more famous celebrations outside of China take place in London’s Chinatown and San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Day Parade.

The Chinese New Year is always in late January up to mid-February, depending upon the timing of the New Moon that month.   The Chinese lunar calendar follows the movements of the moon very closely and all months have 29 or 30 days. Every few years, there is a leap year, but instead of having just one extra day (as in the Western Gregorian calendar), there is an extra month added to even up the fact that there are about 365.25 days a year (the real time it takes the earth to go around the sun).

It is said that the Chinese lunar calendar started as the Xia calendar in the 21st – 16th century BC. It is still used widely for cultural festivals and agricultural life, although the Western Gregorian calendar was adopted with the arrival of the People’s Republic of China in the early 20th century to bring China in line with the national calendars of most of the rest of the world. So in the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, this is Year 4707.

On top of this, we have the Chinese zodiac system, which is based upon the movements of the Earth around the sun and lunar activity.   Add in the twelve animals (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat/ram, monkey, rooster, dog and pig/boar), the five elements (metal, water, wood, fire and Earth), Yin and Yang and you’ll start to see why the Chinese zodiac system is so complicated!   The Chinese believe that the date that you were born in these cycles heavily influence your personality traits and your direction in life.

So the Chinese calendar has much more to it than meets the eye. And, so does the culture and language of China.

This close relationship between the earth and the moon are reflected in the language. The word for day is in fact the Chinese for ‘sun’ and the word for month is ‘moon’.

Find out  about our top 5 ways to learn to speak Mandarin Chinese>>

Visit our Language Advantage Learn Mandarin Chinese shop UK>>

Visit our Language Advantage Learn Mandarin Chinese store USA>>

Have a bit of fun:
Send a Chinese New Year e-card>>
Find out what is going on in London’s Chinatown for Chinese New Year>>
Find out what is going on in San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Day Parade>>

Credits: Photograph –  Chinatown New York  Nightlight © 2008 Joe Carroll (aged 10)

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