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While the year 2017 is being celebrated with a degree of both excitement and apprehension in Malaysia. It is a time to complete the old tasks and make ready to welcome the new year, Throughout the country, the Chinese congratulate each other on having passed through another year, "Guonian" and welcome the new seasons, "Bainian".
The festival of the Chinese New Year is one of the most colorful, elaborate and important of holidays, It is celebrated on the first day of the First Moon of the lunar calendar, This year, that celebration will on fall on January 28th, 2017, and will herald the beginning of the Year of the Red Fire Chicken.
The traditional Chinese calendar is based on the cycles of the moon and is constructed completely different than the Western solar calendar. Because of the different systems, the Chinese New Year varies on the Western calendar. Modern Chinese calendars, however, often use both systems: the Gregorian dates are printed in Arabic numerals, and the Chinese dates in Chinese numerals.
Another difference between East and West lies in the Zodiac. In the West we have a mythology of "star signs" such as Sagittarius, Aquarius, etc,. based on monthly cycles. The Chinese have a similar Zodiac, but one based on an annual rotating cycle of twelve animal signs. Each year has its own animal sign and meaning, and the Zodiac progresses in an established order repeating every twelve years, 2017 is the Year of the Red Chicken, 2018 is the Year of the Dog, and so on.
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Lion Dances will be performed just about everywhere, from businesses and office buildings, shopping centers to restaurants and hotels, chances are, you will be able to catch one at some point or another after the New Year.
Starting on New Year's Day, celebrations continue for another fifteen days and culminate with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the New Moon. So that gives you plenty of time to catch a performance.
After all, anybody that is in business will want to usher away all the accumulated bad luck, clean house and bring in the good fortune, so the Lion Dancers are sure to make an appearance! And even if you're just strolling the markets, keep an eye out for our lions!