Asian New Year - Chinese New Year

Lion Dance

The lion dance is a traditional part of the Asian New Year's celebration. According to Chinese tradition the lion represents strength, wisdom, and happiness.  It is said to be auspicious, or to bring good fortune and luck, which are important to bring into the new year. 

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Wah Lum Kung Fu Lion Dance performance at the Orlando Chinese Professionals Association (OCPA) Chinese New Year Gala 2012. Video produced by Asia Trend Magazine.

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Happy Chinese New Year from the PCC Library!

Lanterns from Flickr by Nick Chan
**Lantern image from Flicker by Nicholas Chan/NCDN

2014 is the year of the horse which is said to bring strength, independence, and good spirits. The Chinese tradition of representing the years with animals dates back to the Han dynasty (approx. 220 BCE). The 12 year cycle of the animals in the Chinese Zodiac is similar to astrological signs.  Each year is represented by an animal and people who are born in that year are said to have the particular characteristics or mannerisms of the animal, both positive and negative. The 12 animals include: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Chicken, Dog, and Pig.  

The Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, is an important traditional holiday to the Chinese and other Asian communities including Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan, and other Southeast Asian countries with large Chinese populations. It occurs on the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar. This year, New Year's day is January 31, 2014. The exact date of the Lunar New Year can vary from year to year on the Gregorian (U.S.) calendar, which is based on the cycles of the sun, since the lunar calendar is based on the phases of the moon. The Lunar New Year is celebrated over a number of days and is a time for merriment and remembrance with families and friends. 

Lacquer Horse

** Image licensed for non-commercial, educational use.  Found using CAMIO database via PCC library

History, Traditions & Symbolism

 Holidays, festivals, and celebrations of the world dictionary cover

Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary edited by Helene Henderson

Provides an overview of the traditions and symbols of the Lunar New Year

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Chinese New Year information from includes a historical overview and a review of traditions and symbols


One of the first Chinese New Year parades started in San Francisco, California the 1860s.  The Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade is the largest celebrations in the United States.

Chinese Calendar and Zodiac

      Religious Holidays and Calendars cover            

Religious Holidays and Calendars: An Encyclopedic Handbook edited by Karen Bellenir. 

Provides a historical overview of both the Chinese Calendar and Gregorian Calendar.

      The New Chinese Astrology cover

The New Chinese Astrology by Suzanne White

Learn the characteristics of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac


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More information about the Chinese Calendar can be found on Calendar Through the Ages from WebExhibits.


Chinese Zodiac information from the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco.  Includes an overview of all the animals and what they may represent.