Happy Chinese New Year – Why today?

Have you ever wondered why is the Chinese New Year on a different date every year? Why and how is it different from the Western 1stJanuary? How is Chinese astrology relevant to our health? Read on to find out more!
Why does the Chinese New Year move?
The Chinese use a solar-lunar calendar, which means that they use a lunar calendar with some fixed dates. The have 12 lunar months, each starting at a new moon, and lasting for 28 days. But 12 X 28 = 336 you might say. How was this ever going to work? To tackle this issue, they have introduced the intercalary month. An intercalary month is a lunar month that is double the length of a standard lunar month. There is no change in the name of the intercalary month, they simply mark it to indicate that in that year, that particular month is double the length.
Different months are allocated as intercalary on each occasion, so you end up with a double-length month every 2-3 years at a different time of the year. However, 4 fixed dates: the Summer Solstice, the Autumn Equinox, the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox have to fall within the same lunar months every year, which makes the Chinese calendar a mixture of solar and lunar calendars. The Chinese New Year is celebrated at the second new moon after Winter Solstice, thus, it is at a similar time each year, but not at the exact same date.
What does it signify?
The Chinese New Year marks the beginning of spring. In Chinese Medicine the spring is associated with the Wood energy, which brings expansion and rapid growth. This is the time of the year when plants shoot out from the earth and buds appear on the trees, the first flowers come through. It is still very cold in February, it’s clearly winter – you might say. Below the ground however, spring is starting, as plants start to sprout from their seeds. You might notice a change in the behaviour of animals around you. They become louder, more active, you notice their presence more. You might notice changes in yourself too. I personally really like this time of the year. I feel full of excitement and motivation to carry out my plans for the year ahead. As the days get longer, I feel happier and more energised. Take a moment to notice in what ways you feel different to, let’s say, the end of November? Look out the window!  Can you see any signs of the spring yet? Do you feel the buzz?
Not only the Chinese celebrate the beginning of spring
The beginning of spring is celebrated across the globe in countries that celebrate Carnival. In Christianity, Carnival is the last opportunity for indulgence before the 40 days of Lent, while also celebrating the return of the light. Winter spirits are chased away, so spring and fertility can return. It often involves wearing colourful costumes, making a lot of noise and burning a symbolic object to mark the defeat of winter.
The year of the Pig
You may have already heard that 2019 is the year of the Pig. You may have read some descriptions of what “Pig people” are supposed to be like, which animal signs are they supposed to be a good match with, and so on, and so forth. I’m not going to add more to that. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a credible source that explained how the animal associations came about, if you know of one, please comment below!
Did you know that the calendar used to calculate one’s birth chart in Chinese astrology was initially used to predict the weather? The Chinese observed that whatever goes on in the world, goes on inside us too. The laws of nature that guide the workings of the universe, guide the workings of our bodies too. To take a step further, the climate in which one is born, to some extent, influences the basic makeup of that person. If you think about it, this isn’t such a far-fetched idea. Take foxes for example: the desert fox has huge ears, while the arctic fox has tiny, barely noticeable ears. The desert fox lives in a hot environment, it increases its ability to cool down by increasing its surface, hence the large ears. The arctic fox on the other hand, tries to preserve heat, so over the centuries it developed to have minimal protrusions that could lead to increased heat loss. The same is true for humans, we are genetically so diverse, as over the course of our evolution, we adapted to a variety of living circumstances.
That is all nice, but what does this all have to do with astrology? The Chinese say that we are all, in subtle ways, influenced by the climate in which we are born, and the climate where we live affects our health and well-being. Based on our constitution, different climates influence us differently. The point in astrology isn’t to predict whether you are going to win the lottery or meet the love of your life, but to estimate whether the year ahead will be beneficial for your well-being, or you will need to take very good care of yourself in order to stay healthy.
Acupuncturists who are familiar with Stems and Branches are able to use their clients’ birth charts as an extra tool to further understand and benefit their patients. Send me a message if you are interested in yours!