The Chinese New Year 2010
The Chinese New Year calendar is lunar and has names that are repeated every 60 years. The 'Stem-Branch' system is the shorter cycle of 12 years denoted by animals: 2010 is the Chinese year of Gēng-yín (Metal Tiger). February 14th marks the year of the Tiger with its association to bravery. The date of Chinese New Year varies within a lunar month as it is linked to the new moon. The Chinese New Year date falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. The winter solstice falls on December 21st, the first new moon is January 15th, and the second new moon on February 14th. It is also the tradition that every family thoroughly cleans the house to sweep away any ill-fortune and hopes in so doing to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red colour ‘paper-cuts’ (beautiful cut paper art also known as window flowers) and couplets (a pair of lines of poetry seen on the sides of doors. The two lines have a one-to-one correspondence in their metrical length, and each pair of characters must have certain matching properties like for instance meaning and tone. They are ideally profound yet concise and include popular themes such as “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”).