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Happy Chinese New Year!


Welcome to the Year of the Pig.

For those of you not familiar with zodiac signs, the pig is the twelfth of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order of the zodiac animals would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. The pig was late because he overslept. Another story says that a wolf destroyed the pig’s house, so he had to rebuild his home before he could set off. Regardless, when he arrived, the pig  was the last to make it to the party.

And why is this important for the Chinese New Year? Zodiac signs are an integral part of Chinese culture, where they can be used to determine annual fortunes, marriage compatibility, career fit and more. Each Chinese New Year, the zodiac animal changes. For 2019, it’s the pig. While that might not appear to be a good thing at face value, pigs are the symbol of wealth, and their chubby faces and big ears are symbols of good fortune.

The Chinese New Year officially begins Feb. 5  each year, culminating with the annual Lantern Festival on Feb. 19. Having begun more than 2,000 years ago, the festival has developed many meanings. It celebrates family reunions and society. It features ancient spiritual traditions. Some also call this the “true” Chinese Valentine’s Day. Why? In ancient China, women weren’t usually allowed out of the house. But on this night, they could stroll freely, lighting lanterns, playing games and interacting with men. The resulting wild and romantic stories led to the nickname.  

On a more serious note, the Lantern Festival also has religious aspects. It was important in ancient Chinese paganism, and also modern day Buddhism, as well as ethnic minority cultures.

The duration of the festival varied over history. Today, it’s not technically a national holiday so there aren’t any days off, unlike during the Ming Dynasty when celebrations lasted an entire month. Still, it’s an important part of Chinese history, and one that many celebrate with family and friends.

On behalf of RSM’s InspirAsian employee network group and the rest of our nearly 10,000 people nationwide, I’d like to wish you and yours a very Happy Year of the Pig!

Kate Seitz

Partner and National Leader of RSM’s InspirAsian Employee Network Group



Our InspirAsian network engages the firm’s Asian professionals in career development opportunities and cultural events