Today marks Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, welcoming in the Year of the Rat.
But don't be surprised if the date snuck up on you.
According to China Highlights, this ancient tradition has been celebrated on the second moon after the winter solstice for more than 3,000 years, meaning it can take place anywhere from Jan. 21 to Feb. 20.
It is traditionally celebrated over the course of seven to 15 days, through various cultural practices including fireworks, lighting and watching lanterns, giving lucky red envelopes and eating sweet dumplings, among other things.
Each year within the 12-year cycle of the lunar calendar is represented in Chinese mythology by one of 12 animals with this year being the Year of the Rat.
The Rat is the first zodiac sign in the cycle, followed by Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
And just like the astrology zodiac signs you may be more familiar with, such as Gemini and Scorpio, Chinese zodiac signs offer insight to people born during that time.
Individuals born in the Year of the Rat are said to be quick-witted, resourceful and smart, but lack courage. They have rich imaginations and sharp observations and can take advantage of various opportunities.
Chinese zodiac signs also cycle through one of five elements according to the year, introducing added character traits. These elements are wood, fire, earth, gold (metal) and water.
With 2020 being the Year of the Gold Rat, it is believed that people born between Jan. 25, 2020 and Feb. 11, 2021, will be smart, talented, hot-tempered, jealous and with a strong sense of self-awareness.
Find more information on Chinese New Year and ways to celebrate here.
From all of us at Sudbury.com, may you have a safe and happy Chinese New Year.