Today it is Chinese New Year. I am not Chinese, and I don’t live in China, or anything, but I like to mark Chinese New Year anyway. We have an excuse to eat Chinese food, which we like. I buy red carnations, which look pretty. But the biggest reason is that this is the first ‘day’ I celebrate that looks forward to spring.

A quick browse on the Interweb tells me that China have (as well as the Gregorian calendar) a lunisolar calendar. They use lunar months but to keep things on an even keel they divide the year into 24 sections, guided by the solstices and equinoxes. It would appear that the people who make the calendar in China have decided that the 4th of February (or is it the 5th?) is the beginning of spring, and the lunar month nearest to the beginning of spring is the New Year. And it’s true; it may be cold and wintry where we are, and we may have lots of snow (we did last year; they do in Canada), but the days are getting longer, the crocuses are budding, and it feels like there will, after all, be spring.