Chinese New Year 2019

The Chinese New Year has over 4,000 years of history and is the longest holiday in China lasting from the first day of the Lunar Calendar for 15 days. The date of Chinese New Year changes each year, in 2019 it falls on Tuesday 5th February.

Chinese New Year is a huge event in China and for those with Chinese ancestry across the globe. During the 16-day festival families spend time together, share traditional food, reflect on the past and look forward to the future. Lucky red envelopes are handed to children and unmarried adults to bring prosperity and good fortune in the coming year. 

Each year is represented by one of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac and 2019 is the Year of the Pig. A zodiac system has existed in Chinese culture since the Qin dynasty, more than 2,000 years ago and may have begun from the worship of animals. 

Legend has it that the Jade Emperor needed to select 12 animals as palace guards and so to select the strongest creatures, he decided to test them in a race. The 12 creatures who participated were: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and finally Pig.

The story goes that at the royal palace, Ox was first in line, but Rat secretly climbed onto the kind Ox's back but jumped in front of him at the end of the race stealing the winner’s crown. Tiger and Rabbit thought the rat’s behaviour was unfair as they were fast and competitive, but they had to settle behind Ox. The Dragon and Snake were given 5th and 6th place. Horse, Goat, Monkey and Rooster fought amongst themselves coming in the middle of the pack. Dog was given 11th place as according to the legend, he bit Rabbit and was punished by being pushed to the back of the race. Pig was late to the race as he overslept and gained the last space in the guard of 12 animals. 

It is believed that the animal your birth year is named after can shape your personality and destiny. So, what can people born in the Year of the Pig expect?

In Chinese culture the pig is a symbol of wealth and are believed to “have a beautiful personality and are blessed with good fortune in life”. They are realistic but enjoy life, enjoying entertainment and the occasional shopping spree! Pigs can be materialistic, but this is reported to motivate them to work hard. According to legend, Pigs seek positions of power and status. 

Not born in the Year of the Pig? Find out what your Chinese zodiac animal is:

If you want to find out your lucky colours, numbers, flowers and your personality traits, then visit Chinese New Year and see if you’re due some luck in the Year of the Pig!


Find out more about Chinese New Year, how it is celebrated, and handy resources for the classroom to help you mark the special occasion. 

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