The days are cold and the jubilations of the festive season long gone.
So it is with an embracing spirit we turn to Chinese New Year - offering the perfect excuse for more merriment.
What better opportunity to brighten the winter or mark another fresh start - even rebooting those shelved resolutions?
According to solar calendars, 2022 may be well underway, but Chinese New Year is calculated according to the lunar calendar.
The date of Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, changes each year but still always falls in January or February.
It falls later than our new year because it follows the lunar calendar, as opposed to the Gregorian calendar most commonly used in the UK, which is based on tracking the sun.
When is Chinese New Year?
This year, Chinese New Year falls on February 1, although celebrations will typically last for 16 days, starting from Chinese New Year’s Eve (January 31) until February 15.
That’s more than two weeks of festivities - happy days indeed.
The final day of the celebrations is marked by the Lantern Festival.
Many people celebrate this festival by letting paper lanterns off into the sky.
Chinese people will often try to take seven days off work, from January 31 to February 6, to celebrate fully.
What is the Chinese zodiac?
Each year on the Chinese calendar is linked to one of 12 zodiac animals, each with their own specific characteristics.
This is similar to how each month of the Gregorian calendar is often linked to a zodiac in other countries.
The 12 animals are: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, pig.
The animals are assigned in cycles of 12 years, so 2020 was the Year of the Rat, and so was 2008, 1996, and so on.
The cycle is based on an old folk tale called The Great Race.
All 12 animals take part in a race to reach the Jade Emperor.
The order they completed the race is the order in which the years are named.
The rat won out against the bigger animals by catching a ride on the back of the ox and then jumping off its back at the last minute.
This means the ox, who had been due to win the race, had to settle for second place and the others filled in the places behind, with the pig coming last.
This year is the Year of the Tiger.
The tiger is known to be king of all beasts in China and comes third in the Chinese zodiac.
The qualities associated with the tiger are competitiveness, self-confidence, bravery and great willpower and strength.
What Chinese zodiac animal am I?
All this may leave you wondering, what Chinese zodiac animal you are.
You can work out your own Chinese zodiac animal by counting through the order listed above.
We are currently on the third Chinese zodiac animal, the tiger, which last fell in 2010 and before that, in 1986, 1974, 1962 and so on.
Next year will be the Year of the Rabbit, then the dragon and so it continues through the cycle.
The Chinese language is not written in the same way as the English language, and the two most prominent ways of pronouncing words in Chinese are in Mandarin and Cantonese.
The most common way to wish your close friends and loved ones a happy new year is: “Xīnnián hǎo.”
‘Xīnnián hǎo’ literally translates as ‘new year goodness’, similar to ‘have a nice day/new year.’
This is pronounced in Mandarin as ‘sshin-nyen haoww’ and Cantonese as ‘sen-nin haow’.