"Kung hay fat choy" was said to be the Cantonese equivalent of "be wealthy in the new year." The Chinese Hsin Nien (lunar new year) normally took place at the first new moon after the sun had entered the astrological sign of Aquarius. Unlike Western astrology which based on a 12-month cycle and divided into 12 signs of the zodiac (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces), the Chinese astrology (ming shu or the reckoning of fate) was based on a 12-year cycle (also known as the Cycle of Cathay) and divided into 12 animals "considered the most interesting on Earth" of the Chinese zodiac (rabbit/hare (or cat), dragon, snake/serpent, horse, ram/sheep (or goat), monkey, rooster, dog, boar/pig, rat, ox/buffalo and tiger). 

In China, the dragon represented power and good fortune. Twelve lunar months totalled 354 to 385 days (including leap year), hence the date of the Chinese Hsin Nien changed yearly but usually took place between January 21 and February 19 of each year. The Western zodiac was said to be based on the sun while the Chinese zodiac was based on the moon. The duration of the lunar month comprised 29 days, 12 hours and 44.05 minutes. 

The Chinese lunar calendar was created around 2245BC, dating back to Wu-ting of the Shang dynasty (1324-1266BC). In those days "astronomy and astrology were important studies for the Shang rulers." It was understood "to catch up with the solar calendar, Wu-ting added an extra month at the end of the necessary year and called it 13th month. The observations of the Shang dynasty rulers were so accurate that a 152-year study has revealed that their calculations average out to exactly 365¼ solar days." 

Shih Huang Ti, the first Emperor of China, was also credited for introducing the lunar calendar based on the cycles of the moon. It was mentioned, "The lunar year is not only ruled by an animal, but by one of the 5 elements expressed in either a positive (yang) or a negative (yin) manifestation. The animal and element sway the time of their birth and understand their influence on their destiny. Each animal contributed its characteristics to persons born that year. These elements of a person's birth year, will determine the course of his or her life, socially, personally, romantically, and even politically." 

Chinese zodiac calendar comprised 60-year cycles, each divided into subcycles of 12 years. Dr John Haley had taught modern East Asia courses at the university told the press, "Before the end of the old year, all debts must be paid off if possible. I’ve even seen people go into new debt to pay off the old ones." In 1912, China adopted the Gregorian calendar. Restaurateur David Wong explained, "The years of the Chinese zodiac go in cycles of 12, each one named for an animal . . . The Year of the Dragon is the best, because we believe the dragon is a king sent by God. Red is the Chinese color of happiness, and we use a lot of it at New Year. We marry in red, too. White is (also) our color of death (or mourning); we don’t like it." 

Traditionally celebrations of the Chinese Hsin Nien could last as long as 15 days. English musician Derek Walters spent 7 years studying Chinese astrology and other ancient practices at the British Library. He wrote the 1983 book, 'The 8000-Year-Old Art and Practice of Chinese Astrology.' "I found ancient Chinese manuscripts so enlightening that I decided to pass on the knowledge to others by writing a book," he told the press. 

Lord Geoffrey Howe of Aberavon died on October 9, 2015. He was credited as the man who spearheaded the Thatcherite revolution in 1981 and ironically the very same man who triggered Margaret Thatcher's downfall in 1991 - the Chinese Year of the Goat (or Sheep). Back in 1991, Derek told the Inter Press Service, "She's an ox, the only animal to conquer all the others expect the diametrically opposed goat. How apt she should be toppled by Howe, a man said to have all the aggression of a dead sheep." 

Derek Walters could read and write Chinese. He had said, "I have always been mystified by Chinese characters. I can remember pondering on the meaning of certain Chinese words when I was very small, in my hometown of Manchester." Of the art of Feng shui (wind and water), "To put it simply, it is the art of preserving nature, making the environment more liveable to men." On reflection, "I've always been interested in mystical things. My father read tea leaves. The crux came when I moved to Tottenham the year they won the FA Cup. It seemed more than a coincidence – it was the Year of the Rooster, which is also the club’s emblem."

2015 was said to be the year 4712 in the Chinese lunar calendar.

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