By Joseph Hincks
January 27, 2017

The letters spelling out Google were festooned in red Friday to herald the 2017 Lunar New Year in Google’s latest Doodle.

The doodle — which features firecrackers, fried dumplings and traditional Chinese decorations marks the turning of the Chinese zodiac from monkey to rooster. Each year of the Chinese zodiac is associated with both an animal and one of five elements. 2017 is the year of the fire rooster, which according to lore is “trustworthy, with a strong sense of timekeeping and responsibility.”

Lunar New Year — which is sometimes called Chinese New Year even though it is celebrated across East Asia — falls on the first new moon between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20 each year, Google explains. It’s a time for families to clean their houses, gather together and enjoy festive meals. And just like Christmas, it’s also, notoriously, a time when older relatives bug singletons about why they don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend, young couples about when they’re going to get married, and newly weds about why they don’t hurry up and have a baby already.

Along with grandmotherly prodding, Lunar New Year is marked by firecrackers and lion dances, in which revelers don papier-mâché masks and flash silken tails to crashing cymbals. The din and the prominence of the color red were traditionally thought to scare off the nian, a mythical beast said to attack ancient villages every New Year’s Day.

Write to Joseph Hincks at joseph.hincks@timeinc.com.

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