Happy Chinese New Year 2015!
Kicking off on 19 February, this is the longest and most important of the traditional Chinese holidays and much like New Year in Western cultures, it begins on the first day of the first month within the Chinese calendar.
It ends of the date of the full moon.
Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally last 15 days, with families cooking food, buying gifts and preparing their homes well in advance.
Different years are represented by different zodiac animal signs, with 2015 marking the Year of the Sheep (though some argue it is a goat or a ram… it's basically any ruminant animal with horns).
London's annual Chinese New Year celebrations will take place on 22 February 2015 with a parade from Duncannon Street to Shaftesbury Avenue featuring floats and Chinese lion and dragon teams.
There will also be free performances from noon with music, dance, acrobatics and martial arts. Trafalgar Square's programme will kick off with the Chen Brothers Flying Lion Dance. Charing Cross Road, Leicester Square and of course Chinatown will also host events.
Your guide to the Chinese Zodiac
Sheep (Goat) — 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027
Personality traits: People born in the year of the sheep are associated with kindness, caring and politeness. They love art and they have a tenderness about them. They can also be shy and sensitive.
Monkey — 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028
Personality traits: Intelligence and wit are but two characteristics of people born in the year of the monkey. They learn quickly. They're mischievous jokesters who love to play pranks. They don't mean to hurt anyone, but sometimes their pranks can cause harm.
Rooster — 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029
Personality traits: Independent. Honest. Punctual. These three traits can be present in those born in the year of the rooster. They're also confident and competent. But emotionally they can be volatile, and they can't always get along with people socially.
Dog — 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030
Personality traits: You're honest and loyal, just like the family pet. You're helpful, and you have integrity. But you're not good at communicating, and sometimes that comes off as stubbornness.
Pig — 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031
Personality traits: Pigs are good friends, but only when you come to know them. Thus, they don't have a lot of friends. They're also known to be lazy and clumsy. Like the monkey, they'll play pranks on people and not know when to stop. They can also be naive, and get themselves into trouble.
Rat — 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032
Personality traits: The rat is adaptable and resourceful. It has good intuition, strong imagination and a deep curiosity. They'll try new things and do well at them. But they don't have much courage, so they don't make great leaders. They're generally kind, but they can also be impolite.
Ox — 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033
Personality traits: Oxen are deeply devoted to their work, and they think carefully before acting. They're moral creatures who know right from wrong. But like dogs, they're also not known for good communication skills, and a boss may not realize how good oxen are at what they do.
Tiger — 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022, 2034
Personality traits: Like a predator chasing its prey, the tiger is known to be courageous and unpredictable. They're stubborn, expressive and they perform tasks in a "high-handed manner." Their decisions are firm, and they don't waver.
Rabbit — 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023, 2035
Personality traits: Impulsive, yet lovable. That's the rabbit. They possess compassion, modesty and mercy. The graceful Chinese moon goddess Chang'e is said to have taken a rabbit as a pet because of the love it had inside it. Sadly, they're not much for meditation, and they tend to put their own careers in jeopardy. They cannot handle dullness, so they're dreamers who will find ways to make life more exciting.
Dragon — 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036
Personality traits: You are Smaug. You're smart, confident and witty. But you're also dominant, and you have a bad temper. When angry, you buck little criticism. You are powerful, and yet you lack self-awareness.
Snake — 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025, 2037
Personality traits: Intelligence, intuition and wisdom. They are private, yet also ambitious. They can't stand failure. They don't say much, but when they do, they say it well. With strong powers of thought, a snake might make a great philosopher.
Horse — 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038
Personality traits: Horses crave the spotlight. They're popular, hard-working and they like to improve themselves. But they don't always listen very well. Financially, they're reckless: they're not much for budgeting. They hate limitations.