The Lunar New Year falls on 12 February in 2021, and is celebrated by people from China, South Korea, Vietnam and other Asian countries.
In previous years, London-based events have included dragon dances in Trafalgar Square and banquets in Chinatown.
However, celebrations are likely to be more muted this year, with activities being run online rather than in person.
But what animal is this Chinese New Year the year of, and how is it chosen?
What Chinese New Year animal is it in 2021?
The ox is the animal of Chinese New Year 2021.
Expect decorations to be bovine-themed for this Lunar New Year, with emphasis on the hardworking nature of the creature.
People born in the year of the Ox are thought to be conscientious and moral, and will get on well with people born in the year of the rat or rooster.
Alongside the animal zodiac calendar, there is the sexagenary cycle – a combination of ‘one of 10 heavenly stems and one of 12 earthly branches’ according to CNN Travel.
Combined with the animal zodiac, this means 2021 is the specifically the year of the Metal Ox.
How is the animal chosen for Chinese New Year?
The Chinese zodiac works on a 12 year cycle, with every year associated with a different animal.
Each animal is said to have a specific personality, and have differing relationships with the other creatures.
Last year, 2020, was the year of the Rat, which apparently indicates adaptability and intuitiveness. 2019 babies are less lucky, as they were born in the year of the pig – thought to be intelligent, but also lazy. Find out what animal you are here.
Although records aren’t clear, it’s thought Chinese New Year celebrations date back to at least the Shang Dynasty – around 3,500 years ago.
Archaeologists have found evidence of sacrificial ceremonies that attempted to placate the mythical beast ‘Nian’ (which sounds like the Chinese word for ‘year’).
The event started to resemble the modern Chinese New Year during the Tang dynasty (618–907 AD), with lantern shows, dragon dances and family visits becoming a common part of the celebration.
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Author: Sophie Dickinson