Asia

Coronavirus dampens Chinese New Year celebrations: All you need to know

NEW DELHI: China marked its most important holiday under a cloud of fear and gloom Saturday as the toll from Coronavirus jumped to 41, with almost 1,300 people now known to be infected.
The Lunar New Year is normally China's most festive time, but holiday observances across the country have been cancelled and citizens advised to hunker down in isolation at home, with over a dozen cities under lockdown following the outbreak of the deadly respiratory virus.
When: According to the Gregorian calendar, 2020 began 25 days ago. But countries like China do not follow these dates. The start of the Chinese New Year is set by its lunisolar calendar — the second new Moon after the Winter Solstice — and therefore changes each year. This year, the date is today: Saturday, January 25.
Which: The origins of the Chinese astrological system date back at least to the Warring States period (475-221 BC). Each year is given its name from the Chinese zodiac. Like the Western zodiac, it is divided into 12 sections. However, these are all characterised by an animal. 2020 is the Year of the Rat (and 2021 will be the Year of the Ox). The next year of the Rat will be in 2032. The other animals are pig, tiger, rabbit,dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster and dog.
Why: According to the most famous legend, the Jade Emperor invited the whole animal kingdom to take part in a race across a river to celebrate his birthday, promising that the first 12 to cross the finish line would win a place in the Chinese calendar. The order in which the animals finished reflects their position in the zodiacal cycle — the rat came first and the pig arrived in last place.
What: People born in 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 and 2008 are all 'rats' — we're talking the clever, quick thinking types; successful, but content with living a quiet and peaceful life. In terms of yin and yang, the Rat is yang and represents the beginning of a new day.Read More – Source