The Year of the Dog will be ushered in on Feb. 16. The Chinese New Year is different from Western New Year, which is celebrated worldwide Jan. 1. China and much of East Asia traditionally use a lunar calendar; each year of the 12-year zodiac is assigned an animal, and each animal's symbolic spirit is said to be part of the identity of people born in that animal's years.
People born in this year of the 12-year cycle — meaning people born this year, and people born 12 years ago, and 12 years before that, and so on — are supposed to be loyal, intelligent and friendly. Notable Year of the Dog A-listers have included Winston Churchill, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Kelly Clarkson, Prince William, Benjamin Franklin, Confucius and Queen Latifah.
Each year in the Chinese zodiac is associated with one of five elements: fire, earth, water, metal and wood. This will be the year of the Earth Dog, so anyone born this year or in previous Earth Dog years (the last time was 60 years ago) is expected to be persistent, meticulous and blessed with good fortune in wealth.
The New Year is a time of huge celebration in Asian communities all over the world. Here are the biggest and brightest parties and parades across the United States.