We celebrated Chinese New Year by doing a really simple, fun art project. First we reminded ourselves what we learned last year about how Chinese (lunar) New Year is calculated.
What Determines the Date of Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year always falls between January 21 and February 21. Within this range, there are two rules of thumb used to calculate the exact new year date.
The first rule of thumb is that the new year falls on the new moon closest to the beginning of spring (in the northern hemisphere). But if the beginning of spring falls halfway between two new moons (as in 1985 and 2015), the second rule of thumb is used.
The second rule of thumb is that most of the time Chinese New Year will fall eleven (or sometimes ten or twelve) days earlier than the previous year, but if that means that the event would be outside of the possible range (January 21 to February 21), a leap month is added, so Chinese New Year jumps nineteen (or sometimes eighteen) days later.
Story: The Great Race
We read The Great Race: The Story Of The Chinese Zodiac, a beautifully illustrated picture book which tells the story of how Emperor Jade, the King of Heaven, holds a race to decide the order in which to name the twelve years of the Chinese calendar.