About the Lunar New Year
The Lunar Calendar
The Lunar New Year 4719 will be celebrated on 12 February 2021. It celebrates Xin Nian, the Chinese New Year, Solnal, the Korean New Year, Tết, the Vietnamese New Year and also Losar, the New Year celebrations for Tibet. Traditionally Shōgatsu, the Japanese New Year was also celebrated on this date but since 1873, the official Japanese New Year has been celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar, on January 1 of each year. In most of these nations the Gregorian calendar is used for civil purposes but the lunar calendar is used to determine festivals and auspicious dates such as weddings and moving house.
This lunar new year is based on the traditional Chinese Agricultural Calendar which is lunisolar, primarily lunar but partially solar, guided by the movement of the moon as well as the sun. It is commonly called the lunar calendar.
The Chinese lunar calendar is associated with the Chinese zodiac, which has 12 animal signs: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Each animal represents a year in a 12 year cycle, beginning on Lunar New Year's Day. There are many legends concerning the choice and order of the animals and their characteristics which are said to be imparted to people born in their year.
Year of the Ox and the Wombat
2021 is the Year of the Ox.
The Australian Chinese Zodiac was developed to promote understanding between Chinese and Australian cultures by the Chinese Precinct Chamber of Commerce in Australia. Animals from the traditional zodiac have been matched to native animals according to their perceived similar characteristics. This year the Ox is matched to the Wombat.
The Ox is noted for its patience and taciturnity. It is eccentric, bigoted and can be angered easily.
The wombat is a very patient mammal with its own eccentric character and can be very defensive when a threat approaches.
How schools can be involved
- Explore the history of the Chinese on the goldfields via Sydney Living Museums or Museums Victoria.
- Use the Harvest of Endurance scroll at Making Multicultural Australia to create a short story about one of the characters in Chinese-Australian history.
- Research the establishment of the Vietnamese communities in Australia via the National Museum of Australia.
- Research well-known people born in a Year of the Ox.
- Map the countries where lunar New Year is traditionally celebrated.