The Lunar New Year dates from 2600 BC, when the Emperor Huang Ti introduced the first cycle of the Chinese zodiac.
Because of cyclical lunar dating, the first day of the year can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February. On the Chinese calendar, 2011 is Lunar Year 4709. Although the People’s Republic of China uses the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes, a special Chinese calendar is used for determining festivals. The Chinese calendar is based on exact astronomical observations of the longitude of the sun and the phases of the moon and is cyclical not continuous in number. The calendar is also used in countries that have adopted or have been influenced by Han (largest single ethnic group in the world, native to china) culture (notably the Koreans, Japanese and Vietnamese) and may have a common ancestry with the similar New Years festivals outside East Asia (such as Iran, and historically, the Bulgar lands).
A Chinese proverb states that all creations are reborn on New Year’s day. The Chinese New Year is a celebration of change ... out with the old and in with the new!
The Chinese New Year tradition is to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.
Chinese New Year is the main holiday of the year for more than one quarter of the world’s population. This time is the largest migration in the world, as Chinese men and women migrate back to their homeland to be with family and observe tradition. Ancient Chinese New Year is a reflection on how the people behaved and what they believed in the most. Red is the color of choice, as traditionally it is thought to “scare-away” evil. The New Year last for 15 days and is filled with rich cultural traditions, ending with the Lantern Festival. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_New_Year
Astrologically speaking 2011 is a Golden Metal Rabbit Year and will be relatively calm. According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves. It is a time for negotiation. Don't try to force issues, because if you do you will ultimately fail. To gain the greatest benefits from this time, focus on home, family, security, diplomacy, and your relationships with women and children. Make it a goal to create a safe, peaceful lifestyle, so you will be able to calmly deal with any problem that may arise.
The year of the Rabbit is traditionally associated with home and family, artistic pursuits, diplomacy, and keeping the peace. Therefore, 2011 is very likely to be a relatively calmer one than 2010 both on the world scene, as well as on a personal level.
Conversely, nations will also become more insular and increasingly lock down their borders to protect against the "other". However, 2011 will also see new art movements projecting a distinct national identity taking the world by storm. Shrewd and creative new business partnerships will also form to the benefit of all.
Lastly and most importantly, Chinese New Year represents family, celebration and change! Here are some great cultural tips to take part in the prosperity of the New Year.
If you're in LA here are some grand festivities to take part in!
Gong Hay Fat Choy!