Friday, January 31, 2014

What's Your Chinese Zodiac Animal Sign? (Part Two)

One of the most important aspects of the Chinese New Year is it’s representation of each year through a different animal, twelve to be exact. Originally, the animal signs were designed as a counting system to follow the lunar calendar. But it was during the Han Dynasty, where a significant relationship between the animals signs and people developed. It is believed that the animal that was being represented during the year of your birth can predict your strengths, weaknesses, and even different parts of your fortune. 
So what’s your animal sign and what does it say about you?

4. The Rabbit
Your sign is the rabbit if you were born in the years:

Your strengths:
According to Chinese tradition, the rabbit has long stood for a sign of hope. It is a compassionate, tender, gentle, and sensitive creature- loved by many. People born during the Year of the Rabbit are good at communicating with others in a clever, likable, and humorous way. The soft-spoken and hospitable rabbit makes for a good friend and listener. Easily bored, the rabbit likes to create an interesting and romantic life for itself, being very talented at spicing up dull situations. The rabbit works at a fast pace and if very efficient, but rarely argues or gets angry. 

Your weaknesses:
The rabbit can be impulsive at times, putting money into projects and ideas without thinking it all the way through, which may cause some road blocks in the workforce. It is sometimes easy for the rabbit to lose touch with reality because of their love of romance and tendency to daydream. 

What the Rabbit Can Expect for 2014:
This year will be a year of ups and downs for the rabbit. There will be a lot of good things as well as some bad. The workplace will bring some of each. It is advised for rabbits to try to have good relationships with colleagues, as this will make their job less stressful. When problems are encountered at work, the rabbit should look to family for support. Although the rabbit won’t experience a large increase in their wealth this year, their health and love life is expected to be positive. 

5. The Dragon
Your sign is the dragon if you were born in the years:

Your strengths:
The dragon is one of my favorite signs under the Chinese Zodiac, and I am not alone! The dragon has always enjoyed a high reputation and deep appreciation by the Chinese culture and people. The dragon represents the highest authority, honor, and success. In ancient history, Emperors were referred to as “dragons”, thought to possess divine power, and the thrown they sat upon was known as the “dragon thrown”. Those born under the sign of the dragon are considered great leaders and will achieve much success in life, especially due to their drive for perfection. They are not turned off by challenges and independent thinkers. Those born under the sign of the dragon are both energetic and excitable, making them fun to be around.

Your Weaknesses:
While their success and achievements are good qualities, it can sometimes make dragons seem arrogant or over confident. Dragons are impatient creatures and sometimes struggle to control their emotions, whether it is anger or joy. People whose sign is the dragon often struggle with opening up to others or trusting, which can often be a setback in their love life. 

What the Dragon Can Expect this 2014:
Those born during the Year of the Dragon can expect to have a smooth 2014. Work will flourish this year, as dragons can expect a promotion of some kind. When approaching this year, dragons are advised to be wise and think things through when it comes to work-related decisions and avoid being impulsive. Work will use up much of the dragon’s energy, so make sure to pay attention to health this year and exercise regularly. 

6. The Snake
Your sign is the snake if you were born in the years:

Your strengths:
Within Chinese culture, snakes symbolize mystery, delight, and wealth. Those who are represented by the snake have a good temper and generally remain calm under stressful situations. Despite their cool nature, underneath their calm demeanor, snakes are very passionate and often inspire others through their articulate nature. Due to snake’s unrelenting empathy and sympathy, they make for very good friends.

Your Weaknesses:
Snakes can sometimes be jealous creatures. It is difficult for them to fully trust others and can often become suspicious of others’ intentions. Due to this, they would rather rely only on themselves and don’t like to be dependent on anyone else, which can sometimes hurt their relationships. 

What the Snake Can Expect this 2014:
This year will bring much good fortune for the snake, a relief after their hardships last year. Their fortune will be the most promising towards the beginning of the year, so snakes are encouraged to pursue opportunities right away instead of waiting. This year also brings good fortune in the workplace, with coworkers and income. Investments made by businessmen will pay off within the next several months, bringing much financial satisfaction to the snake. 2014 will also be a wonderful year for love and romance! Single snakes have a good chance of finding love this year. The only area where snakes should be worried is with health. People represented by the snake do not have the best immune systems, and should make sure to see a doctor as soon as any signs of illness or trouble arise. 

7. The Sheep (Also Referred to as the Goat or Ram)
Your sign is a sheep if you were born in the years:

Your strengths:
The sheep has traditionally been associated with gentleness and kindness. Due to its white color, the sheep is linked with purity and the meaning of good things. Those born under the sign of the sheep are tender, caring, and kind-hearted people. They are very compassionate and take excellent care of others. Sheep tend to enjoy a quiet, low-key life and have a special appreciation for the arts. 

Your weaknesses:
The sheep’s quiet and gentle nature is a strength but in certain circumstances can be a weakness as well. They are extremely shy creatures, finding it difficult to reach out to others and be outspoken about their beliefs. At times the sheep can be moody and has difficulty making decisions. They have a very hard time being bold and expressing their love, which can create challenges for them in the romantic world.

What the Sheep Can Expect this 2014:

This year will prove to be a good year for the sheep in all dimensions of life. Their career will flourish and the stressors they endure from their growing success will be manageable. They will gain a lot of experience and accumulate some wealth over the next year as well. As for the sheep’s love life, that will flourish as well! Single sheep are expected to find their partner in the upcoming year and couples will have happy and harmonious relationships. Their health will be relatively good this year, but it is advised for the sheep to pay close attention to their negative emotions, as they tend to be oversensitive at times, because these can have a detrimental effect on their health. 

For the rest of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals read "What's Your Chinese Zodiac Animal Sign? Part Three"

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What's Your Chinese Zodiac Animal Sign? (Part one)

The Chinese Zodiac, also called Sheng Xiao, is a huge component of the Chinese New Year. It is a twelve year cycle that corresponds to the Lunar calendar- and for each different year there is a different animal represented. It is believed that whichever animal sign was being represented during the year of your birth, also represents you as a person- everything from your strengths and weaknesses to your fortune. So what’s your Chinese Zodiac animal sign? 

1. The Rat
Your sign is the rat if you were born in the years:

Your strengths:
People born during the Year of the Rat are typically of high intelligence. Their curiosity and adaptability leads them to achieve a lot of success in life. They are generally personable and quite popular. Their key features associated with the animal include “wit, alertness, flexibility, and spirit.”

Your weaknesses:
With all strengths come certain weaknesses. And the weaknesses associated with lacking in bravery or courage. Their timid nature prevents them from being able to be a leader or taking on a lot of responsibility. Their interests in personal gain and success drives them but also makes them come across as selfish. 
those born during the Year of the Rat include lacking in the ability to command authority and

What does 2014 have in store for the rat?
2014 will be a year of many ups and downs for the rats. They will experience many highs as well as many lows, but it is important that even during the lows rats keep a positive attitude. It is advised for rats to keep a close eye on their health this year, especially regarding intestinal problems. Maintain a healthy diet and make sure to keep up with physical exercise. For any single rats, 2014 is your year for love! For rat couples, make sure to keep calm in conflict and participate in regular communication to maintain a healthy relationship this year.

2. The Ox
Your sign is the ox if you were born in the years:

Your strengths:
Those born during the Year of the Ox are considered honest and patient people. They work slowly and proceed with caution. Their concentration, strong will, and faith makes them not easily affected by what those around them think or do. They are generally quite tenderhearted and good natured people, who follow their beliefs and have strong morals. But above all, the ox values family and tradition. 

Your weaknesses:
The ox is not a good communicator, making them misunderstood and their talents sometimes go undiscovered. They are stubborn and fall back into their old ways instead of being open to change.

What 2014 has in store for the ox:
2014 will not be a year of great fortune for the ox, but do not get discouraged! Though it will not be a year of great successes, it will not be a year of great failures either. Just stay calm and focused and the year should go by smoothly. Those whose sign is the ox should try to get a lot of rest this year and maintain a regular exercise routine. This year, the ox may come across some unkind or overly competitive people at the workplace, but again- stay calm and react wisely in these situations. Although, the ox will not flourish in many ways this upcoming year, it is a good year for the ox to find love and be content with their social life.

3. The Tiger
Your sign is the tiger if you were born in the years:

Your strengths:
Tigers represent bravery and strength. In ancient times, many emperors were compared to tigers, because of their valiance, nobility, and power. Those born during the Year of the Tiger are considered to be well respected people who enjoy a challenge. They are quick, intelligent, and active. Because they speak their mind and are blunt, people find them easy to trust.

Your weaknesses:
The strength and power of a tiger can sometimes come at a cost. Tigers are often short-tempered and can clash with others, especially authority figures. They are very confident in their abilities, almost too confident, which can lead to difficulty cooperating with others.

What 2014 has in store for the tiger:
The beginning of the year will be dull and uneventful for the tiger, but as 2014 progresses, their luck will grow. Tigers will work hard this year, and it will show. This year, tigers can expect some sort of pay raise or promotion. They will be satisfied with their wealth and not accumulate any financial stresses or problems. Singles may find love this year, but overall 2014 may present some romantic road blocks for tigers. If you’re in a romantic relationship, make sure to avoid conflict by keeping communication open. Tigers can sometimes have a wandering eye, so make sure to stay away from that this year. 

To see the rest of the 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals and find which one correlates with your birth year- keep watch for "What's Your Chinese Zodiac Animal Sign: Part 2"!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Origin of the Chinese Zodiac Animal Signs

It is no secret that there is a long standing relationship or link between the Chinese culture and 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac- but when did this relationship first develop? And for what purpose? 

The Chinese Zodiac, also referred to as Sheng Xiao, was originally created as a counting system for counting the years according to the Chinese Lunar calendar. The ancient Chinese observed that there were 12 full moons per year, developing a link between time and astronomy- what many of us now may think of as astrology. 

It was during the Han Dynasty where the order and characteristics of the 12 animals became considered a direct influence on the lives of people. It became believed, and still is today, that depending on the year of your birth you became associated with one of the 12 zodiac animals and this knowledge could yield predictions on everything from your personality and habits to what kind of year you might have. 

The year of your birth, or your animal year, is known as your Benming Nian and based on the Chinese New Year, your animal year only comes about every 12 years- making it a very special year for you! 

So if it is your animal year, how can you ensure that the fortune it brings about is good and not bad? The Chinese say the best way to ensure good fortune during the arrival of your animal year is to wear red on the New Year as well as a necklace purchase by someone else- it doesn't count if you buy it for yourself! 

Monday, January 20, 2014

How the Chinese Prepare for the New Year

With the New Year quickly approaching, the Chinese are very busy preparing their house for the incoming celebrations. Due to the extensive history and culture behind this holiday, many people participate in all the traditional rituals leading up to this special time such as cleaning, shopping, cooking, and more. 

Many hours of cleaning are required to get the house ready for the holiday, believing that cleansing one's home sweeps away any bad fortune. Although cleaning is an important aspect of the New Year's traditions, it is only in the few weeks approaching the holiday where it is necessary- once New Year's Eve has arrived it is critical that all cleaning comes to a halt, due to the belief that after its arrival, any further cleaning will sweep away the incoming good fortune. Once the house is spotless, people hang chunlian, or paper couplets, in their doorways to encourage good luck to enter their home. 

Next, one must go shopping to purchase all the necessary items to make their New Year celebrations festive and special. The first items to check off on the list? The food of course! 

In addition to groceries, one must purchase themselves a new outfit to ring in the New Year, preferably red! Once you have treated yourself, it is time to treat your friends and family! Purchases of gifts and red envelops to put money in to exchange with loved ones are common in preparation for the celebration of the New Year. 

Also, if you are considering getting a haircut anytime soon, it is vital you do it before the New Year has arrived! Why? Because cutting anything, even your hair, is considered bad luck during New Years celebrations. 

Participation in these cultural rituals will assure any celebrators a happy and luck-filled Chinese New Year! 

What the Arrival of the Year of the Horse Means For You

The Chinese New Year, beginning January 31st, is one of the most popular and exciting holidays on the Chinese calendar. So what makes it so exciting? Well, besides the festive parties and 15-day-long celebration, what makes the Chinese New Year so exciting and unique is its involvement and correspondence with zodiac signs and animals. Each year welcomes not just a new beginning, but also a new Zodiac animal. And with the arrival of 2014 also comes the arrival of the Year of the Horse. 

So what can you expect for the Year of the Horse? 

The coming of the Year of the Horse predicts much good fortune. It will be a year where your romance and your career will reach a point of harmony and peaceful coexistence, something many of us are happy to learn! The Year of the Horse encourages us to reach out and take advantage of the opportunities that are given to us, instead of letting fear, self-doubt, or lack of motivation get in the way. 

And what about those born during the Year of the Horse? 

If you were born in 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002 then your zodiac animal is the horse and this year is your year! So what does this mean for you? 

Foretelling of the Year of the Horse predicts that as a whole, your luck and fortune will fluctuate, don't let knowledge of this upset you- but rather, use it to approach the year with caution, care, and above all, strength. When coming face to face with stressors or challenges, seek help from others and search within yourself to find your strength and motivation. 

 As a Horse, you tend to engage in a little self doubt, often seeking approval or confirmation from others before moving ahead with a project or decision- but let this year be the year you become more confident in your choices. 

2014 is a special year because it is not only the Year of the Horse, but specifically, the Year of the Wood Horse. This is important because in Chinese astrology the "element" of wood increases the philosophy of the sign, deepening and strengthening the positive traits associated with the Horse, including action, optimism, and high energy. 

The Wood Horse is also greatly linked with nature and peace, making the usually restless Horse more calm and stable, increasing your ability as a partner, in the romantic as well as professional sense. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Rich History Behind the Chinese New Year

While we celebrated the arrival of the new year on January 1st, preparations for the Chinese New Year are just beginning! The date of the New Year changes from year to year because it is based off of their Lunar Calendar, and this year the eagerly awaited holiday falls on January 31st. 

Out of the countless Chinese festivals and holidays, this is by far the most celebrated and cherished one. It is a time dedicated to honoring the household, remembering ancestors, and relaxing and celebrating with friends and family. And people really know how to get in the spirit, with celebrations beginning the evening before and lasting up to fifteen days after- sign me up! 

Like with most Chinese holidays, the Chinese New Year is a cultural event filled with rich history and tradition. There is deep legend and mythology behind the beginning of the national public holiday involving a mythical creature the ancient villagers referred to as "Nian". The stories say that this creature would reek havoc through the villages on the first day of every New Year- attacking people and eating livestock and crops. In order to protect themselves from Nian, the villagers began leaving food on their doorsteps each New Year's Eve, in hopes that the distraction of food would prevent further attack to their people. 

To learn more about the cultural and diversity taught at Fujimini Island, please click here.

The significance of the color red during the New Year also stems from this same legend of Nian. After the beast was scared away by a child wearing red, the villagers concluded that he was fearful of that color. So from then on, in addition to putting food offerings on their porches, the people would also hang red lanterns and red scrolls on all their windows and doors to ward Nian off. It was only after this act that the ancient creature never again returned to cause harm to the villages and people.