SBP Blog

Chinese New Year 2018: The Year of the Dog

Thomas Joel - Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The dog: loyal, clever, bursting with joy, ever loving and unfailingly gracious—man’s perennial best friend. All of which, with the Year of the Dog officially kicking off on Friday, is naturally copacetic with us. But, in the context of Chinese culture, what is the Year of the Dog all about? And what does it signify? 
The upcoming Chinese New Year is going to be a particularly joyous occasion, with roughly a sixth of the world set to take part in festivities around the globe as they usher in the Year of the Dog.
One of China’s oldest celebrations, Chinese New Year—also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival—marks the beginning of a new lunar cycle and agricultural season. Culturally, it’s a time for loved ones to get together and take part in traditions designed to bring good fortune and prosperity over the next 12 months.
Chinese New Year of the Dog
Because Chinese New Year follows the lunar calendar, the technical start date is not fixed; it shifts every year, falling somewhere between January 21st and February 20th.
The lunar calendar also rotates every 12 years, with each year corresponding to different symbolically distinct animals, each with their own particular attributes, characteristics, and qualities—both good and bad.
As per Chinese tradition, the way you think and act, your entire personality, is determined by the year in which you were born and what stelliferous animal was running amok at that particular time. This mixture of astrological kismet and ancient Chinese culture form the philosophical foundation upon which Chinese New Year festivities are ritualistically held and ecstatically paraded upon.
Chinese Zodiac Calendar
So what should we expect during the Year of the Dog? Douglas Chong, president of the Hawaii Chinese History Center in Honolulu's Chinatown, explains in an interview how this year is going to be very different from this past Year of the Rooster.
“The Dog has a great influence on how society thinks. It’s going to be much more introspective, very reflective and quiet. People should really think of what they’re doing,” Chong asserts. “But it’s a year to do things: get active, don’t procrastinate, don’t put things off—just get to it, but proceed with caution.”
According to the 12-year zodiac cycle, if you were born in 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, or 2018, you’re officially a Dog—no offense.
“Dogs are very docile. They’re loving; they’re humanitarians,” Chong says. “They will sacrifice themselves and their ambitions for the betterment of others. They’re selfless people and they’re very caring. And that’s the way the year is going to be. That’s why we’re going to be thinking more, looking within ourselves, reflecting on what’s going on in the world and what’s going on with our partnerships and lives.”
Chinese Year of the Dog
The Chinese believe that when it’s your year, you have to be extra cautious. So if you’re a Dog, keep your ears pricked and proceed with caution; radical changes are on your immediate horizon, for better or worse. Always be on guard, carry yourself judiciously, and make sure the major decisions you make in life are well-thought-out.
As Mr. Chong puts it, “For the people who are Dogs, it’s going to be a good year, but they have to be very careful, especially with their money. They have to invest wisely because career-wise and money-wise, they’re up to big challenges.”
Added to this, every lunar year is associated with one of the five Chinese elements: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. This year will be the first Year of the Earth Dog since 1958.
Chinese YOD Elements
According to the official Chinese New Year website, Earth Dogs “are stubborn and never give up. They aren’t very connected with the world and society. Though stubborn, they respect other perspectives. They believe that as long as they work hard, they’ll make it.”
Whatever your star-fated animal is, we wish you all—Horses and Rats, Dragons and Roosters alike—a very happy Chinese New Year! And if this is your year, be a good Dog, alright?
Year of the Dog


Don’t forget to subscribe to the Stone Bridge Press mailing list to receive bi-weekly newsletters detailing our latest upcoming books, special deals, promotions, book giveaways, excerpts from our newer titles, and other SBP related news.
Subscribe to our mailing list to be automatically entered to win a copy of our now out of print Tokyo Story: The Ozu/Noda Screenplay, the original script of Yasujiro Ozu’s critically acclaimed 1953 Tokyo Story—a gem of a film that's regularly rated among the best ever made. Ozu and cowriter Kogo Noda viewed the script as literature; once completed, it was little changed during filming. Here is a translation of the Japanese screenplay to Tokyo Story, with critical observations by Donald Richie on Ozu’s filmmaking, a filmography, and twenty stills.
For daily content and news on East Asian culture as well as info on our latest titles, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Written by Nikolas Bunton

Like our blog? Please share it!


Subscribe to the SBP Mailing List

New Releases

Amy’s Guide to Best Behavior in Japan

Going to Japan? This unfussy modern guide guarantees you keep it polite and get it right!

Easy and Fun Katakana

Learn the second key Japanese syllabary from every angle: reading, writing, and real-world examples.

Oh, Tama!

A deeply eccentric novel about lives and connections—and a cat of course—in 1980s Tokyo: witty, offbeat, and strangely profound.

The Fourth String

Two women. Two cultures. One music.

Tag Cloud

politics and prose World War Two book hoarding holocaust japan etiquette anime Christianity in Japan peace amys guide to bes tbehavior in japan author travel to japan japanese customs journal of a zen monk's wife japan restaurant buddhist symbols eating in japan book reviews shamisen japanese etiquette Children's Books a mejiro novel manga kyoto comic history zazen gaijin Language book review disney japanese instrument learning in japan osaka gallery awa ex pat literature author event year of zen blurb award internment tourist paul mccarthy world literature today bowing in japan a memoir finalist lions roar welton gaddy Ukiyo-e student teacher manga biography catcher in the rye japan vacation zen monk hiroaki sato Chinese New Year journal pottery japanese book in the woods of memory astrology expat Basho Tokyo Olympics zen monk wife janet pocrobba jing liu jared cook frank beyer diary journal' monks wife performance Japanese literature author signing walt disney japan guide sensei Translation jun hazuki book publicity 1960s Korea koto foreword indies publicity monk wife gaijin pot book tour danica davidson AAS literary review journal of a zen monks wife in japan alan moore book signing World War II holden caufield the japan times fred schodt japan custom henry kiyama donald keene zen monk in japan Christianity memoir, tracy franz, zen monk, buddhist Japanese holidays poetry of consciousness Coming of Age Day nara photography traditional WWII Chinese Astrology hate tea how to book reading Children's Literature how to travel in japan japanese books zen otakuusa seppuku min kahng new release black jack japan today my year of dirt and water william f sibley buddhist priest religion the asian review of books japanese craft tk nakagaki Culture japanese people shaimsen japan book memior japan book review book award japan behavior lesley university fantasy literature haiku hitlers cross book Nikolas Bunton japan memoir classic japanese literature classic a shameful life learning shamisen literature a memoir of sensei and me podcast four immigrants journal of a zen monk benjamin franklin award the silver spoon asian review of books hitler forewrod reviews indies Japan yukio mishima UCLA writing Art/Design polite announcement koun Alexandra Johnson etiquette osamu tezuka Basho's Narrow Road the fourth string new york events why we write podcast ancient symbols the millions new books Year of the Dog michael emmerich the buddhist swastika asia hippocampus magazine travel Japan no longer human japanese translation matcha Spirituality suehiro maruo manji purification book talk astro boy dazai pacific rim review of books giajin center of east asian studies monks wife graphic novels buddhist buddhist swastika tracy franz Chiune Sugihara gratitude in japan kyodo news janet pocorobba japanese drunk stone bridge press japanese music VIZ will eisner frederik schodt osamu dazai reviews oh tama ibpa publishing university verticle traditional japanese instrument japanese classic PEN AWARD The Colorado Review juddhism chinese comics awards rachel manley IBPA haibun Chinese culture sensei and me event tokyo drinking in japan Shoah memoir writing Olympics interfaith japan culture leonard koren ningen shikkaku the fourth string a memoir of sensei and me guide benjamin franklin awards nichi bei weekly, naomi hirarahara japanese instruments green tea 2020 Olympics diymfa alan brill japan trip washington dc foreword reviews huffington post best behavior in japan author tour what do in japan non-fiction illustration mieko kanai huffpost japan books Okinawan literature dark horse gaijinpot kansuke naka amy chavez mark gibeau japanese books in english buddhism amys guide to best behavior in japan shamisen performance Anime/Manga/Comics japanese culture japanese travel understandind china through comics japanese bath brad hawley foreigner in japan t.k. nakagaki visitor nazi tea garden diy mfa evil bookstore publishing musical japan travel ritual Japanese art Asian Studies japanese china history Interview Chinese history comics takuma sminkey american shamisen how to order in japan wife China book blurb Korea the japan society Poetry memoir stone bridge cafe kinokuniya event 2019 behavior suicide hooked cross books review literary prize living in japan ancient symbol new york state of belief university of chicago swastika Second World War shun medoruma japan food traditional japanese instrumenet japanese cutlure eastern and western philosophy monk damian flanagan Japanese aesthetics Korea photography tricycle magazine manners tomoko aoyama 1960's Japan History Travel Spring Festival the hidden writer