What to expect from the Year of the Horse

Just when our new year resolutions from starts to fade you can count on the Chinese for giving you a second chance. The Chinese New Year starts January 31, so no excuses, throw yourself out there! We are entering The Year of the Horse, so get ready for a fast paced year. Before you ride into the new sunrise it might be good to know a bit about what the new year will bring.

What can we all expect in the Year of the Horse?

Last year was snake year. A time to negotiate, find the middle ground and check out different options. Not so this year! The horse goes full speed and leaves no room for compromise. So much energy, no time to wait – Just do it! Diplomacy must wait; instead expect financial chaos, wars and rising conflicts.

On the other hand, horses are about freedom, so this is the time to return to nature and enjoy life’s many pleasures. Work less, play more. And by playing, it’s a great year for travel! Just make sure you have your finances sorted out, don’t get tempted to spend money you don’t have.

Horses also bring people to their destination. If procrastination has been a problem for you in the past, you may want to set a goal to stop procrastinating. Then, maybe this year you’ll finally find yourself where you want to be.

Maybe this is where you want to be?
Maybe this is where you want to be?

What can YOU expect?

How this year turns out for you depends on a few things. First, which of the 12 animals are you, and second, which element: Wood, fire, earth, metal or water? Certain animals and elements go together better than others. This year is the Wood Horse; I am a Fire Dragon. Apparently, horse and dragons make a good match, so that’s a great start!

There are plenty of horoscopes online, some more serious than others. Feng shui masters will charge money to make a horoscope based on date and time of birth, using traditional Chinese fortune-telling tools. Others are of the generic sort and are probably based more on popular beliefs than scientific fortune-telling. I don’t care, it’s still enjoyable reading and they can give plenty of good advice. Like this one here.

My favorite lines for the year to come: “Dragons should not make risky investment and lottery can just be played for fun instead of a way of making money.” And an even better tip: “Married people should avoid extramarital affair, especially during social activities, or their family and career will both be affected.” Words to live by indeed!

If you check your horoscope for the year to come, please share your best advice in the comments I am sure it can be useful for others as well!

Are you ready for some noise!
Are you ready for some noise!

What to expect when traveling in China during Chinese New Year

People! The Chinese New Year is the world’s biggest mass movement of people. The Chinese government is expecting more than 3.6 billion trips to be taken by plane, train, bus and boat over a period of 4 weeks. So if you are in China, it may be best to enjoy where you are and wait until the new year is a little bit older before you start your traveling.

Noise! During Chinese new year you have to make sure no evil spirits follow you into the new year, and the best way to scare them off is by firecrackers. Not even fireworks, but a lot of noisy firecrackers all through the night for about 2 weeks!

Colors! Houses will be decorated with bright red posters and lucky banners and kids will be wearing new, colorful clothes. Red lanterns and small red envelopes are used for decorations, because red is the color of good fortune. The Lantern Festival is on the fifteenth day of the first month, and colorful lanterns of all shapes will light up the night sky all over China.


May we all have a prosperous new year!
May we all have a prosperous new year!

Another name for the New Year Holiday is Spring Break. While it isn’t really spring yet, (at least not in Northern China) it is a good reminder to know that we trot towards warmer and longer days. If you want to celebrate this, why not find your best red clothes and gather friends and family for some jiaozi making?

I would love to hear your plans for the year that is ahead of us, especially if it involves traveling. Please share in the comments where you’re planning to go!

If you are curious about how to integrate more horses into your China travel itinerary, sign up for my newsletter and you will not miss my next post.

I wish all my readers a wonderful Year of the Horse!

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Christine Surlien

Christine has studied Chinese culture and language extensively. She has spent two years at The People’s University of China in Beijing, done five years of Chinese studies at the University of Oslo, and has her masters degree from Hong Kong University. She has been associated with KinaReiser, Norway’s leading agency for travel to the The Far East, for a decade. She was also employed at the administration of the Norwegian Embassy to China for two years, before relocating to Washington DC with her diplomat husband and their two children.

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  1. […] celebrating the Year of the Horse, I’ve been thinking of the times I have encountered horses around China. Not being the […]

  2. Sounds like a great year ahead! I’m looking forward to an energized year. My daughter and I just celebrated Chinese New Year at the Museum of Chinese in America, which is in NYC. She learned how to write horse, and she loves horses so it was very fitting, and her name. We’re planning on a couple of trips this year: Ireland, France and some places in the states.

    1. Cool, must check out that museum next time I’m in NYC. Safe travels to you and your family!

  3. Christine, I’m a Dragon too! I will heed the advice to just play the lottery for fun even though I wish I could hit it big. And in regards to what the year of the Wood Horse will bring, I’ll take the freedom you mentioned… working less and playing more. In my business I’m always reminded how important it is to live in the NOW, none of us are promised tomorrow. Thanks for sharing this interesting post! <3

    1. Yeah, go Dragons! Yes, we all need to live now and worry less. Have a wonderful year, Kelly!

  4. Well I don’t have a trip planned yet….but im keeping my options open. Seems as though this has already began as a fast paced year. I really am getting that vibe “just do it”! So I am jumping in with both feet! Let’s see where it takes me! <3

    1. That’s the way to tackle this year, I think – Just do it! Hope it will take you on a wonderful journey!

  5. My Chinese zodiac sign is the horse. My year started off with travel.
    I just returned from a trip to New Zealand, a place that has been on my bucket list a long time as I have friends there I hadn’t seen in 12 years.
    I like that the Chinese zodiac says people w/the Horse sign are clever, kind to others, cheerful, perceptive, and talented. I’d like to think of myself that way.
    Thanks. 🙂

    1. You know that they expect a baby boom this year – because having a horse baby is considered a real blessing 🙂 This is your year, so continue to be clever, kind, cheerful and talented!

  6. Sounds like a year full of unlimited potential! Great article with some very interesting things that I normally do not think of. It is very neat how they celebrate their new year!

    1. Yes, the celebration is like our Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, where family and food have the highest focus!

  7. I plan on returning to EUROPE! I am excited to tour around EUROPE, taste the culture, and spread the spark! Great blog post. It really supported me in creating the courage to declare my desire to travel! Thank you so much, you just don’t know.

    1. Great to hear that Phoenix! If you ever doubt your courage, just imagine the horse 🙂

  8. We’re likely staying close to home this year, as we did a big trip down the west coast last summer. So more day trips than extended travel for us!

    1. Day trips are great – the joy of traveling AND sleeping in your own bed! We are doing the West Coast this year, very excited!

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