International Office Blog

News and information from the International Office at the University of Brighton

Happy Lunar New Year

The year of the dragon, 2024 Chinese New Year!

Celebrate Chinese New Year with strength, courage and good fortune just like this year’s zodiac dragon. 

What is Chinese New Year?

Also known as spring festival or lunar new year, Chinese New Year falls on 10 February 2024 and follows 15 days (about two weeks) of celebrations. An important part of Chinese culture, Chinese New Year marks the start of the lunar new year and encourages family, love and support for the year ahead. 

Celebrations began more than 3,500 years ago, meaning the festival has a rich history of traditions. Some have related what we now know as Chinese New Year to the Shang Dynasty, when people held sacrificial ceremonies in honour of gods and/or ancestors at the start of the year. Today, the festival is celebrated all over the world. 

Celebrating within the university

The university welcomes cultural celebrations from across the globe, and Chinese New Year is no exception.  

International team celebrate Chinese New Year 2024

Our international team celebrated Chinese New Year slightly early, and Global Liaison Officer – Jinyi shared the story of the Chinese zodiac. 

The Chinese zodiac

As part of the Chinese New Year celebrations, it is custom to commemorate its matching animal – there are 12 in total. 

There are many stories and legends that surround these animals, unanimously they all can be traced back to the ultimate race. Depicted in Chinese mythology, the race was presented to all animals from a higher being in which the first 12 to cross the finish line were rewarded with honour. This is where the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig triumphed. Now these animals represent a cluster of years and significant traits that you can link back to your own birth year. 

Cut outs of the Chinese zodiac animals

The year of the dragon

2024 is the year of the dragon, more specifically the wood dragon as each Chinese zodiac is also linked to one of the five elements: metal, water, wood, fire and earth. 

Each element is believed to have influential energy that compliments each animal, they also interact with each other in unique ways. For example, wood starts a fire, fire creates earth, Metal creates water and so on.  The dragon represents strength, support, independence and love and is the fifth animal (coming in 5th place for the race) of the Chinese zodiac. The last year of the dragon was in 2012. 

International team Chinese New Year social

How do I find my own Chinese zodiac?

If you’re interested in finding your animal and elemental influence that make up the full Chinese zodiac, please look at the charts below. 

Chinese Zodiac and Years

Image via 

Element   Birth year ending in   Traits  
Metal  0 or 1  Gifted, idealists and planners 
Water   2 or 3  Sympathetic, perfectionist, coordinator 
Wood  4 or 5  Courageous, passionate, good at research 
Fire  6 or 7  Kindness, tolerant, honest, leader 
Earth  8 or 9   Determined, persistent, workaholic, manager 

For example, the dragon aligns with 2024 and ends with a four, so the full Chinese zodiac would be the wood dragon. 

No matter your plans for commemorating the year of the dragon, be sure to bring in the Chinese New Year with lots of luck, prosperity and happiness! 

CelebrationChinaChineseChinese New YearChinese ZodiacHappy New YearHow to celebrate Chinese New Yearinternational studentInternational teamYear of the Dragon

Clare Cornwell • February 8, 2024

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