Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy (Chinese) New Year!

Goodbye to the year of the Water Dragon, and hello to the year of the Water Snake!

I'm not sure if it's common knowledge that the Chinese calendar doesn't only rotate between the 12 animals, but also by the 5 elements: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth.

This means, a complete cycle isn't every 12 years, it's every 60 years.

Each element also has a corresponding colour, and water is black.

Each animal also has a fixed element, in the case of Snake, it's Fire... so yes, that's separate (and seemingly conflicts with) the element cycle.

And then there's a yin/yang cycle. This new year falls under yin.

...and then there's the Heavenly stem, the Earthly branch, the Four Pillars, the Four Trines, the Solar/agriculture calendar...

It gets really complicated.

Personally I don't believe in astrology, but I do find systems like this interesting, for it's a way of categorizing and explaining the world.

I was born under a lucky animal (#8), my element is earth, which is the stabilizing element, it's associated with the colour green, and I fall into the yin side of the yin/yang cycle.

Whew... that's a mouthful to keep track of...

When looking at the qualities of my animal/element year, at best, only 50% could be considered reasonably accurate, which is pretty normal in astrology... vague enough that people can always apply some aspects to themselves.

Do you know what element/animal year you were born in? The wiki page is pretty good, and a fast Google search turned up this site, which is interesting because, if you scroll down to the end of the page, it matches each Chinese animal (year of birth) with each Western astrological sign (month of birth). There are also sites where you can plug in the longitude/latitude of the place you were born, and the exact time, and it'll give you a full readout of lucky/unlucky days/years/decades/etc.

Lots of fun, and it's a great time-waster ;)


  1. I once made an astrology system for a world a friend and I designed. It involved the month, week, day, and year of birth all having differing Meanings, along with dividing the hour of the birth into quarters (each dedicated to one of the 4 classical elements) and then degrees (of 4 minutes each) which meant Stuff. How long you were in the womb was called an Indicator, the amount of time your mother spent in labour a Trial. Then you factored in day and night, some stars, portents and omens, and directions of birth and the like on top of that.

    The starting idea had been that, if astrology worked, it would be used in courts. So we made a world where one civilization did that, and the system has to be ridiculously complicated so that
    a) only Practitioners can apply it to your life. If the results didn't match up to your life, it was a sign of a poor reading.
    b) the insane amount of variables allows for any result.
    It was a fun exercise and I may make use of it in some future project ...

    1. Heh, reminds me a little of that movie, "Minority Report" (??) where they predict people committing crimes and arrest them before the crime happens :)

  2. Happy Chinese New Year!! I don't believe much in astrology/zodiac stuff, but for what it's worth, I'm an ox (Earth I think)!

  3. Yang wood monkey - maybe

    Happy new year - we used to have good chinese friends and would celebrate with them every year

    1. I'm going to celebrate a belated Chinese New Year tomorrow (Friday the 15th) since it'll be my official first day in Vancouver, and the first official start to my 'clean-slate-new-life'.

      ...and Hon's, on Robson, is awesome, the food is always super fresh, and it's only 3 blocks away!! Wa-hoo!

      I'm craving some crispy-skin-peking-duck, some gai-lan, and perhaps a bowl of hot & sour soup :D

      ...after sitting for 3 hours at the ferry terminal, then a 1 hour, 45 minute ferry ride, and anticipating the 40 minute drive into downtown... one thing I'm NOT going to miss about living on Vancouver Island is taking BC Ferries!

      I'm trying to focus on the positive :)

  4. I LOVE hot and sour soup - we live close to our fav chinese restaruant. Back from Toronto - traffic almost as bad as Cairo!!!

    1. Unfortunately, I didn't get the soup, but I did get gai lan!


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