Year of the Sheep

In China, millions of people traveled to be with their families to celebrate the Lunar New Year. So many people in China travel at this time of the year that it is considered to be the largest annual movement of humanity anywhere in the world. The travel period this year is from February 4 to March 16, and 2.8 billion trips are expected to be made. Baidu, a Chinese Internet search company, has been tracking the trips (image).

On the Gregorian calendar, the calendar used by most of the Western world, Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year (in January or February). February 19 was the start of the Year of the Sheep. Lion dances, red lanterns, firecrackers, dumplings, red clothes, and red envelopes containing money for kids are all part of the celebrations. Each year of the Chinese calendar is assigned an animal name according to a repeating cycle of 12 animals: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar. How did these 12 animals get selected to have a year named after them? Here is video showing a legend about how the 12 were chosen and another about the Chinese New Year.

 

Image Credits: http://qianxi.baidu.com/ for the heat map image
Sources: http://news.xinhuanet.com/, http://www.rio-carnival.net