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Lunar New Year—Year of the Snake Begins Feb. 10

2013 is the Year of the Snake. Is this your Chinese zodiac sign?

Lunar New Year—Year of the Snake Begins Feb. 10

A lot of people cringe at the thought of snakes, but if were born in the Year of the Snake, as described by the Chinese Lunar New Year calendar, you are a quick learner, and lead by wisdom and intuition.

As Americans celebrate 2013, it can be interesting to take a look at what it means on the Chinese calendar. 

Followers of the Chinese zodiac believe each person has personality traits similar to the animal character for the year he or she was born. For 2013, the snake year, snakes are said to like the best things in life and are mysterious, quiet and deep thinkers.

Famous people born in the year of the snake include Oprah Winfrey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Picasso, Martha Stewart and Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

More on the Chinese New Year:

Since the Chinese New Year begins according to the Chinese calendar, which also uses lunar and solar calendar systems, the new year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February, explains Apples for the Teacher, an educational website. Due to the track of the new moon, the 2013 Chinese New Year begins on Feb. 10.

The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is the most important social and economic holiday in China, history.com says. It is a time to honor household and heavenly deities and ancestors, and to bring family together for feasting.

Chinese have joined the Western world in celebrating Jan. 1 as New Year’s Day, but China continues to celebrate Chinese New Year, as the Spring Festival. On the fifth day of the New Year, businesses often light firecrackers in the belief it will bring prosperity and good fortune. The last day of the 15-day holiday includes the Festival of Lanterns, and marks the end of the celebration.

Symbols for Chinese New Year include red envelopes filled with money, given to children and unmarried adults with no job. The red color is for good luck and abundance. And the dragon, which is present in many Chinese celebrations, often is present in dancing performances on the 15th day of the New Year. The dragon represents prosperity, good luck and good fortune, with many traditional Chinese thinking of themselves as descendants of the mythical creature.

The Chinese New Year’s Eve meal is the most important dinner of the year, history.com adds. Families gather at a relative’s house or restaurant, with many restaurants requiring reservations months ahead of time. Or, a professional chef might be hired to cook at someone’s house.

Traditional foods include Eight Treasures Rice with rice, walnuts, dried fruit, raisins, sweet red bean paste, dates and almonds. Also, there are chicken, duck, fish and pork dishes, and Tang Yuan, a black sesame rice ball soup, or Won Ton soup. For sweets, there is Song Gao, or loose cake, made of coarsely ground rice formed into a small, round cake.

What's your birth year?

Horse — Energetic, independent, impatient, enjoys travel

  • 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930, 1918, 1906

Ram — Mild-mannered, shy, kind, peace-loving

  • 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943, 1931, 1919, 1907

Monkey — Fun, energetic, active

  • 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, 1944, 1932, 1920, 1908

Rooster — Independent, practical, hard-working, observant

  • 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, 1933, 1921, 1909

Dog — Patient, diligent, generous, faithful, kind

  • 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, 1934, 1922, 1910

Pig — Loving, tolerant, honest, appreciates luxury

  • 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947, 1935, 1923, 1911

Rat — Quick-witted, smart, charming, persuasive

  • 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936, 1924, 1912, 1900

Ox — Patient, kind, stubborn, conservative

  • 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949, 1937, 1925, 1913, 1901

Tiger — Authoritative, emotional, courageous, intense

  • 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938, 1926, 1914, 1902

Rabbit — Popular, compassionate, sincere

  • 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927, 1915, 1903

Dragon — Energetic, fearless, warm-hearted, charismatic

  • 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952, 1940, 1928, 1916, 1904

Snake — Charming, gregarious, introverted, generous, smart

  • 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, 1941, 1929, 1917, 1905

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