By Lisa Manfield

Chinese New Year falls on February 5 this year, and I’ll be doing my part to ring in the lunar new year with millions of other celebrants around the world. Why? Well, for one, I love having the opportunity to partake in new-to-me traditions, food, and festivities. But there is another reason I’m particularly keen to celebrate this year: my Chinese horoscope tells me I’m about to have a pretty good year.

In the tradition of Chinese astrology, my sign is the rat. People born in my particular rat year tend to be smart, strategic, and fairly lucky. And we love to socialize!

And apparently there are ample reasons for me to socialize this year: 2019, the year of the pig, is looking to be particularly good for my sign: one marked, in part, by social engagements and prosperity. The coming year will be a transition year for us rats, as we prepare to celebrate our year in 2020. So 2019 will be a time to clear out the old and set new intentions for the coming several years. Opportunity abounds for us rats this year. And that’s one reason I’ll be eagerly toasting Chinese New Year.

Chinese astrology, if you aren’t familiar, is based on 12-year cycles; each year with an accompanying animal sign. The pig is the 12th sign in the cycle. Every sign will interact with the Year of the Pig in its own particular way, but overall, the Year of the Pig is predicted to be an auspicious year, as the pig typically attracts success. The year will be marked by happiness and a sense of ease. Search online for your specific horoscope to find out what 2019 will look like for your animal sign. Hopefully you will have reason to celebrate too!

Chinese New Year Traditions

Horoscopes aside, Chinese New Year comes with many festivities and traditions that are fun, practical and auspicious. These include preparations for New Year’s Eve, which involves thoroughly cleaning the home (sweeping out the old, decluttering and making space for the new), getting a haircut, and decorating in red and gold. A lot of work is put into setting the stage for success throughout the year, and inviting good fortune into the home.

New Year’s Eve ­— the most important part of New Year’s celebrations — is marked by family gatherings and feasting, and the handing out (or receiving, depending on your marital status) of red envelopes filled with money. Fireworks often take place on New Year’s Eve as well.

Enjoy Vancouver’s Extensive Celebrations

Vancouver offers many opportunities to take part in a wide array of public Chinese New Year celebrations. Check out the Lunar New Year Festival (https://lunarfestival.com), an aggregation of events taking place throughout February in Vancouver and Richmond. You’ll find everything from lion and dragon dances, to cultural showcases, stage shows and parades. Happy Chinese New Year.