The Chinese calendar may be set to welcome in the 'Year of the Rabbit' but the new year could be auspicious for love cheats, astrologers predict, and those who want a younger partner.
China celebrates the first day of the Lunar New Year on Thursday and many Chinese people are keen on using the occasion to get a glimpse of what might be in store next year.
"The 'Year of the Rabbit' will see a lot of unusual romantic relationships," Hong Kong astrologer Anthony Cheng said. "Including extra-marital affairs and relationships with huge age differences."
Cheng said husbands and wives should keep watch for wandering eyes as their trusted partners look for stimulation elsewhere, although the coming year will also be lucky for couples planning to tie the knot.
"The Year of the Rabbit is an auspicious time for marriages, so I would expect to see a lot of people taking the plunge, including famous people," he added.
"Those who are single are likely to find girlfriends or boyfriends, those who are in relationships are likely to get married, while those who are married are likely to have babies," Cheng predicted.
But women could see more health problems than usual, astrologers say, and should place a yellow gourd on their desks at work to ward off pesky colds and other ills -- no matter what bemused colleagues might think.
The predictions are made by analysing a person's birth date as shown in the Chinese Solar Calendar, one of the most keenly-watched methods for laying out one's destiny among Chinese communities around the world.
In Chinese culture, many people take the predictions seriously and even adjust their lives accordingly.
The Chinese calendar moves in 60-year cycles, meaning the world will experience similar events to those seen 60 years in the past.
In the Chinese zodiac, the rabbit is fourth in a cycle of 12 animals that represent each Chinese New Year, with the Year of the Rabbit falling between February 3, 2011 to January 22, 2012.
But seismic events aren't just reserved for matters of the heart. Weird weather patterns and natural disasters are also in the offing.
"Countries like the US, Canada and Taiwan will probably suffer from natural disasters or accidents," astrologer Alion Yeo said.
"The weather will oscillate between the extremes -- it will either be extremely cold or extremely hot."
North and South Korea will continue to exchange hostilities, but the hardline Stalinist state should be more concerned about a disastrous epidemic.
"North Korea will likely witness an epidemic that would require assistance from the international community," said Peter So, a prominent Hong Kong astrologer and television personality.
Major accidents including train wrecks, fires, falling buildings or bridges are likely in Korea, India, Pakistan and throughout Africa, said Cheng, adding that Russia and China's Inner Mongolia province will experience large-scale earthquakes, with magnitudes of five or higher on the Richter Scale.
And it'll be a mixed bag for some of the world's political leaders.
China's president Hu Jintao will have luck on his side but his US counterpart Barack Obama has a so-so year in store based on the Chinese fortune-telling system, known as the Four Pillars of Destiny.
"Lady Luck will continue to shine on (Hu)," Peter So, a prominent astrologer and TV personality, said.
"Obama, on the other hand, would find this year very average for him, where there are many things he wants to achieve but it is unlikely that he would be successful."