The Year of the Snake is about to begin. It starts on February 10 as the Asian Lunar New Year is celebrated by several of the largest Asian groups in North America including Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans. The Lunar New Year is represented by a cycle of 12 years, each year denoted by a different animal zodiac.
For Chinese, which is the largest Asian population that celebrates this holiday in North America, the Lunar New Year is also known as the Spring Festival, and it would signal to farmers in China that they must begin preparation for the sowing of their fields.
In addition to elaborate holiday meals at home or at restaurants with special New Year dishes, families and friends pay visits to each other, exchanging greetings and gifts which signify auspiciousness and good fortune. For example, Chinese and Vietnamese give children "red-envelopes" with good luck money for the New Year, and Koreans offer newly minted money as a symbol of fortuitous beginnings. Business people in the Asian communities also celebrate the holiday with colleagues and employees.
The U.S. Census (2010) shows that the Asians are the fastest growing population in the country, increasing four times faster than the total U.S. population. According to the Census, the U.S. population identifying as Asian-alone, or in combination with another racial group grew by 45.6 percent from 2000 to 2010. In Canada, where visible minorities represent more than 16% of the total population, Asians are the largest ethnic group comprising more than half of all visible minorities.
Fun Facts for the Year of the Snake:
Snake Years: 1905, 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, (2/10/13-1/ 30/14)
Chinese Calendar Year: 4711
Famous People Born in Year of the Snake: Charlie Sheen, Robert Downey Jr., Taylor Swift, Joe Jonas, Daniel Radcliffe, Hayden Panettiere, Martha Stewart, Demi Moore, Abraham Lincoln, Picasso, Dean Martin, Simon Garfunkel, Jack Black, Audrey Hepburn, Bob Dylan, Jean Simmons, Oprah Winfrey, Virginia Woolf, and Greta Garbo
Snake Characteristics: Thoughtful, Wise, Rational, Stingy, Intuitive
Best Careers for Those Born in the Year of the Snake: Scientists, Potters, Analysts, Jewelers, Spiritual Leaders, Sociologists, Astrologers, Magicians, Investigators
'Lunar New Year' Names and greetings in several languages:
- Chinese (Mandarin): "Chun Jie" (Spring Festival)
- Chinese (Cantonese): "Sun Nin" (New Year)
- Vietnamese: "Tết Nguyên Đán" (Festival of the First Morning)
- Korean "Seollal" ('New Year')
Happy New Year Greetings:
- Chinese (Mandarin): "Gong Shee Fa Tsai" (Wishing you get rich)
- Chinese (Cantonese): "Gung Hay Fat Choy" (Wishing you get rich)
- Vietnamese: "Chúc Mừng Năm Mới" (Happy New Year)
- Korean: "Sae Hae Bok Man Ie Ba Due Se Yo" (Get lots of luck)
Lucky/Special New Year Foods:
-Chinese: Dumplings, Rice Cake (called Nian gao)
-Korean: Rice Cake Soup (called Duk-kuk)
-Vietnamese: Rice Cake (called Bánh chưng)
Other Chinese Zodiac Animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. The next Lunar New Year: Year of the Horse: (1-31-2014 - 2-18-2015)