80,000 Gather at Boshingak Bell Ceremony in Seoul
The Year of the Snake
People in Seoul ushered in the year 2013, the Year of the Snake (癸巳年: 계사년) based on the traditional Korean zodiac, with tens of thousands of people milling streets of downtown Jongro in central Seoul, where Seoul Mayor Park Won-Soon and other leaders struck the bell at Boshingak Pavilion at the start of Jan. 1, 2013.
Braving the nippy weather of minus 8 degrees in Celsius up to 80,000 Seoulites gathered on the night of Dec. 31, 2012 in downtown Jeongro streets and greeted the start of the new year, burying all the unhappy memories and tough days of their life of yester year.
They all embraced altogether, friends of strangers, when the bell was struck 33 times in the annual ceremony to send out the old and bring in the New Year. They all wished others lucks and fortunes.
The New Year, or Year of the Snake (癸巳年), will bring in abundance, wealthy, fertility to the folks born in the snake year, according to the Korean zodiac.
The Korean zodiac, which was based on the Chinese system of astrology, still wields a great deal of influence on many segments of Korean society.
The Korean zodiac consists of 12 signs which are called 12 Animal Gods (). Each sign is named after an animal; Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
There is a legend about the origin of animal zodiac. Buddha invited all the animals of the world to visit him and only 12 animals showed up. Then, he honoured them by naming the year after them according to the order in which they are arrived. And 12 animals came to symbolize each year.
Each animal character indicates a specific year, time and direction by 12 division cycles. For instance, every year is named after an animal character in order. It means every 12th year has the same animal character and it starts all over again.
Also, 24 hours are divided by 12 division cycles, which means every two hours has its own animal character. And each character represents 30 degrees of direction as well.
The Korean zodiac system is not only an important measure, but also has special meaning to Koreans.
A person born in a certain year and at a certain time has a certain animal characteristic related to the Korean zodiac system.
When making decisions in life such as career, finance and marriage, it is common to get advice from fortune tellers who interpret fortune or destiny using the animal zodiac. It has been believed that one's destiny and personality rely on one's character, which is based on the Korean zodiac system.
For these reasons, an animal character of the year is an important factor in Korean society.
Common Characters of the Year of the Snake
People born in the Year of the Snake tend to be wise and thoughtful. They approach problems rationally and logically.
Usually they are very good at their business, living a wealthy life. But at the same time they can be stingy, often causing problems with their family members and relatives because of their egoistic nature.
The following are the strengths and weaknesses of the people born in the year of the snake.
People of the year of the snake tend to possess great wisdom and gracious morality. They also often have a good temper and a communication skill.
Usually they do not need to worry about money matters since they are financially secure and wealthy.
They have tremendous sympathy for other people, often taking actions to help other needy neighbours. They are also determined to accomplish their goals.
Unlike their calm-looking surface, they are actually intense and passionate. They are also people of great perception and of inspiration.
People born in the Snake year are very stylish, fashionable and have exceptional taste. This is maybe because snakes come in all varieties of colours and patterns.
Women born in this year tend to do well in housework but also they are often irritable.
People born in this year of the snake tend to be jealous and suspicious.
They have to be careful about their discussion with others. By being careless they can lose friendship and opportunities.
They also display the tendency to overdo things. They tend to have doubts about other people's judgment, often relying too much on themselves. They are somewhat egoistical and are inclined to be greedy.
In spite of their polite manners they can be headstrong. Usually they have problems in relationships or marriage problems since they are likely to be fickle.
Korean Zodiac of 12 Animal Characters
The Year of the Rat: 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996. People born in the Year of the Rat are cheerful, thrifty, and resourceful. Bright and sociable, they are often very successful in business or politics. Although they guard their own secrets, they love to gossip about others. They can be generous at times, but their generosity extends only to those closest to them. Their compatible signs are Dragon, Monkey, and Ox.
The Year of the Ox: 1913, 1925, 1037, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997. People born in the Year of the Ox are hardworking, dependable, and down-to-earth. They are also quiet, methodical, and patient but are known for their fierce temper and stubbornness as well. Their most compatible signs are Snake, Rat, and Rooster.
The Year of the Tiger: 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998. People born in the Year of the Tiger are courageous, sincere, and affectionate. They also have a tendency to be suspicious, quick-tempered, and unpredictable. They inspire great respect in people but often come into conflict with elders or those in authority. Their practicality makes them good businesspeople. Horse is their most compatible sign. Other compatible signs are Dragon, Pig, and Dog.
The Year of the Rabbit: 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are virtuous, considerate, lucky, and easily moved by the problems and misfortunes of others. They are also known for their excellent taste. Being naturally cautious, they make good businesspeople. Their compatible signs are Snake, Monkey, and Horse.
The Year of the Dragon: 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000. People born in the Year of the Dragon are energetic, humorous, capable, and idealistic.
Their decisiveness can at times make them seem overconfident, but they do inspire confidence and trust. They are also quite excitable, short-tempered, and stubborn. Their compatible signs are Monkey, Rat, and Rooster.
The Year of the Snake: 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001. People born in the Year of the Snake possess great wisdom as well as charming personality. However, they also tend to be vain, selfish, and even a bit stingy. Lucky in financial matters, they seldom have to worry about money. At times, they are moved to help those who are less fortunate. Their compatible signs are Ox, Rooster, and Dragon.
The Year of the Horse: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978: 1990, 2002. People born in the Year of Horse are cheerful, active, and popular. They generally don't worry, and they adapt easily to different situations. They also tend to be fickle and overly talkative. Their ability to quickly analyze situations and handle business matters makes them good bankers and businesspeople. Their compatible signs are Tiger and Dog.
The Year of the Sheep: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003. People born in the Year of the Sheep are gentle, compassionate, and often shy. They are also pessimistic and easily confused. Although they are born worriers, they are also quick to forget about their troubles. Their luck frequently brings them fortune as people leave them money in their wills. Their compatible signs are Horse, Pig, and Rabbit.
The Year of the Monkey: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004. People born in the Year of the Monkey are quick-witted, versatile, and unique. They are good at making decisions but tend to look down on other people. Their ambitious drive often brings them wealth and fame. They are born innovators and also make good linguists. Their compatible signs are Dragon and Rat.
The Year of the Rooster: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993. 2005. People born in the Year of the Rooster are often misunderstood. They are seemingly aggressive, self-assured, and even reckless, but are true conservatives at heart. They generally tend to promise more than they can give. They love to travel and to try different life-styles. They tend to have a moody disposition, and their fortunes, like their moods, swing high and low. Their compatible signs are Snake, Dragon, and Ox.
The Year of The Dog: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006. People who are born in the Year of The Dog are said to be intelligent and organized. They have a great sense of humor and are known for their loyalty and feeling of responsibility. They are also secretive and somewhat selfish and stubborn. Their honesty and fairness make them good judges. Their compatible signs are Horse, Tiger, Rabbit, and Pig.
The Year of the Pig: 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995., 2007. People born in theYear of the Pig are courageous, loyal, and thoughtful. They also have a great thirst for knowledge. Quick-tempered and introverted, they have a hard time making friends, but their friendships are lasting. Sometimes they tend to be too honest for their own good. Not good at business, they are more suited to literature and the arts. Their compatible signs are Rabbit, Sheep, Dog, and Dragon.
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