The Prancing Papio would like to wish its readers a happy and prosperous Lunar New Year. I will be gorging myself with cookies and holiday food for the next few days that I probably will be in a food coma for a while!
The Chinese Zodiac consists of twelve animals (pictured above). I'm sure some of you have seen them in your place mat in a Chinese restaurant. The Chinese Zodiac are based on astrological charts, most probably a mnemonic from observing the orbit of Jupiter (see Earthly Branches for more info). 2010 is the Year of the Tiger. Chinese New Year is a sixteen-day celebration, starting from Chinese New Year Eve to the fifteenth day.
The Lunar New Year is celebrated throughout China and other cultures whom the Chinese culture had interactions with (migration, trade, etc) such as Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and Mongolia (hence Lunar New Year is more appropriate and inclusive of all the cultures that celebrate this holiday). Japan used to celebrate Lunar New Year prior to 1873 but after the Meiji Restoration, they adopted the Gregorian calendar and started celebrating new year on January 1st. Countries with large populations of ethnic Chinese also celebrate this holiday, like the United States, Indonesia and Australia. If you have a Chinatown in your city, chances are it's decorated with New Year decorations and abuzz with festivities. Hope this anthropological bit fascinate you!