Chinese New Year

Feb. 10 marked the start of the 2013 Chinese New Year and the Year of the Snake. The new year begins on the second new moon after the Winter Solstice and is celebrated for two weeks until the moon reaches its brightest phase. What we love about this most important of the Chinese holidays, in addition to the lively celebrations, is the animals.

12 Animals in the Zodiac

Each year in the calendar is represented by a cyclical parade of a dozen animals, also known as the Chinese Zodiac. According to legend, the animals chosen for the signs came about either by invitation from Buddha (one story) or from a race conducted by the Jade Emperor.

In the latter tale, the Emperor announced that the animals chosen to represent the years would be the first 12 contestants to finish a grueling race. The last part of the race was swimming across a treacherous river. The Snake, fearing he would be swept away by the current, discreetly wrapped himself around the Horse’s hoof and hitched a ride. When they got to the other side, the snake quickly dismounted and scared the horse, thereby beating him to the finish line. 

The order in which the animals completed the race is the order of the Chinese zodiac — Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. After 12 years, the cycle repeats.

What’s a Snake Like?

Just as the Western zodiac attributes certain characteristics to people born under a sign, the animal associated with each Chinese year influences personality. How does an association with snakes translate into human qualities? Just observe the snake and his behavior, and it sneaks right up on you.

Are You a Snake?

Traits of People Born in a Snake YearSnakes
Intuitive, refined and collectedQuiet, calm, with deliberate, calculated movements
Attractive and gracefulAgeless in appearance, fluid, synchronous in motion
Laid-back attitudeOften difficult to provoke; will flee rather than fight
Mysterious; privateHard to locate; prefers hidden places; naturally camouflaged
Intelligent and decisive; targeted approach to goalsHunts with precision and strikes with speed
Not great communicatorsHave no “voice” and “hear” only vibrations
Not outwardly emotionalHave no eyelids/eyebrows, so face is unchanging
Enjoys calm and comfortRest when not hunting/mating/fleeing. Likes basking in the sun.
Sexy and seductiveIt’s all about that sleek, phallic look

No need for “hiss-teria” about ever being called a “snake,” which is actually one of the more popular of the Chinese signs. After all, who doesn’t want to be smart, sexy and powerful? Snakes are also seen as charming and graceful.

Past Snake Years

If you were born in the following years, then you are a Snake:

  • January 27, 1941 – February 14, 1942
  • February 14, 1953 – February 2, 1954
  • February 2, 1965 – January 20, 1966
  • February 18, 1977 – February 6, 1978
  • February 6, 1989 – January 26, 1990
  • January 24, 2001 – February 11, 2002
  • February 10, 2013 – January 20, 2014

What’s Ahead this Year?

Considering that snakes are a good omen in Chinese culture and creatures that seem to value warmth and comfort, a Snake year can mean better financial or material security for everyone. Snakes are also experts at getting out of tight places, so you may find yourself with more wriggle room in tough situations. The coming year will also be one of transformation. As the snake grows, sheds his skin and starts anew, you can choose this auspicious time to cast off the old and embrace the new in the coming year.