February 8, 2016 is Chinese New Year. It will be the year of the Monkey. If you are born on the year of the Monkey, you are known to be smart, clever, and intelligent. They are also flexible and quick-witted but unfortunately they can be cunning, selfish, and arrogant.
The Chinese Zodiac has twelve cycles and an animal has been assigned to each cycle. There is the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. It follows the Chinese lunar calendar. The lunar calendar is determined when the moon is in line with Earth and the Sun.
There is a famous legend I read awhile back on how the animals were selected to form the calendar. The Jade Emperor called out to the animals to appear at a time and location and the first twelves who arrives will be selected. Do you ever wonder why the cat is not a part of the Chinese Zodiac? The legend also said that the cat and rat were best friends and they planned to go together. However, either the rat forgot to mention or tricked the cat, the cat was too late, he was the last to appear. So that is the reason why the cat is not in the Chinese Zodiac and the reason why the cat is always seen chasing the rat.
All family members gather for the New Year Eve's dinner. They usually serve fish and dumplings which symbolizes prosperity. You will see fireworks to draw bad spirits away. Red packets were often given out from married people or elderly to young children to suppress the evil and to keep them healthy and long life. Major cleaning of the house signifies to clean out the old and welcome the New Year.