This year, Chinese New Year falls on 19 February. It will mark the end of the Year of the Horse and the 2015 Year of the Sheep will begin – you may also see it referred to as the Year of the Goat and the Year of the Ram, as the Chinese symbol ‘yang’ is generic for these animals. More specifically, 2015 is the Year of the Green Wood Sheep. Like me, you may well be wondering what that means?
The Chinese zodiac associates a different animal, and its perceived characteristics, to each year of a 12-year cycle. Shēngxiào – as it is known in Chinese-speaking countries – is based on the lunar calendar, unlike the western calendar we are used to, which is a solar calendar – its years are based on the cycles of the moon. The beginning of the Chinese New Year coincides with the new moon phase of the lunar calendar, so, unlike the solar calendar, the date for the new year is not fixed and can take place on any date between 21 January and 20 February.
The Sheep is the eighth animal in the Chinese Zodiac and Chinese people commonly regard the sheep as an auspicious animal. The Year of the Sheep, therefore, heralds a year of promise and prosperity.
Characteristics of people born in the Year of the Sheep
People born in a Year of the Sheep are generally believed to be calm, gentle, creative, thoughtful, amicable, persevering and honest. Their lucky colours are thought to be brown, red and purple, while their lucky numbers are 2 and 7, or numbers containing 2 and 7 such as 27 or 72. Carnations and primroses are believed to be lucky flowers, north the lucky direction and August and November are lucky months for people born in the Year of the Sheep.
Were you born in the Year of the Sheep?
People born in the Year of the Sheep were born in: 1905, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, and 2015. The Year of the Sheep will return in 2027.
Coins at Chinese New Year
At Chinese New Year, children will receive red envelopes filled with money, known as ‘hong bak’, to bring good luck and fortune. Many will place them under their pillow before going to sleep, some for up to seven days, to increase the good luck and fortune that they bring.
The Year of the Sheep UK Coins from The Royal Mint
The Royal Mint’s Shēngxiào collection launched in 2014 with the Year of the Horse design by artist Wuon-Gean Ho. In 2015 it continues with the second of 12 designs, this year marking the 2015 Year of the Sheep.