Leading in to Saturday night, there we plans on the books to enjoy the Chinese New Year with my two Chinese friends and a few other extra/token Anglos who serve as family members. By Saturday afternoon the wife of one of our honorees got sick so they bagged, another of the Caucasians had a family event to attend and that left three of us to our own devices. Since Yo wasn’t going to get a Red Envelope from me, we decided to bag the tradional plan and opt for Mexican instead. Have I mentioned I shouldn’t drink tequila? No? I shouldn’t. Make a note of it.
Rewinding a smidge, Thursday I sent a note to the kids asking if there was anything else I needed to know about the traditions surrounding the New Year and this is what I got back from Who Flung Poo:
Know how to use chopsticks.
Everything has bones in it.
We will have ample chicken feet to eat!!!!
Fish comes with head still intact.
If Chinese don’t eat, you should not either.
While not exceptionally helpful, I did cause me to laugh unexpectedly and spit on my screen a little.
The real deal/hippie version via Daily Om:
According to the Chinese calendar and zodiac, January 29, 2006 brings us the Year of the Dog. This means that we have the helpful energy of this loyal companion to accomplish much good in the world and in our lives this year. When we think about dogs, we think of their steadfast love, loyalty, friendly companionship, and forgiving nature. Dogs are playful, but work hard and rest well. They create balance in their lives. We no longer need to be envious of a dog’s life, because we can incorporate these qualities to our lives this year.
History via Wikipedia
Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It consists of a period of celebrations, starting on New Year’s Day, celebrated on the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar, i.e. the day of the second new moon after the day on which the winter solstice occurs, unless there is an intercalary eleventh or twelfth month in the lead-up to the New Year—in such a case, the New Year falls on the day of the third new moon after the solstice. (The next time this occurs is in 2033.) The Chinese New Year period ends with the Lantern Festival, on the fifteenth day of the festival.
Legend has it that in ancient China, Nian (“Nyan”) was a man-devouring predator beast that could infiltrate houses silently. The Chinese soon learned that Nian was sensitive to loud noises and the color red, and they scared it away with explosions, fireworks and the liberal use of color red domestically. These customs led to the first New Year celebrations.
All I know is that I was born in the year of the rat and I don’t care much for what that says about me or the commonalities of the folks I share it with.
According to Chinese folklore, people who are born under this Chinese sign are creative, honest, generous, ambitious, quick-tempered and wasteful. Rats are said to get along well with “monkeys” and “dragons,” and to get along poorly with “horses”.
Rats are a symbol of good luck and wealth. They are clever, intelligent and quick-witted. This sign is ambitious and strong-willed, and is motivated by its own interests, which often include money and power. Rats are naturally charming and persuasive. They are energetic and versatile and can usually find their way around obstacles, and adapt to various environments easily. A rat’s natural charm and sharp, funny demeanor make it an appealing friend for almost anyone. The Rat likes to know who is on its side and will treat its most loyal friends with an extra measure of protection and generosity. However, they also have long memories and will rarely forgive or forget an enemy. Rats are strongly family oriented. Although they are often hoarders and can be miserly, they also are very generous to their family and friends. Rats have a great capability for accumulating and holding on to items of value.
A valuable lesson for Rats is to learn to consider others above themselves, at least sometimes, and to be careful not to force their ideas on others. Rats are fair in their dealings and expect the same from others in return, and can be deeply affronted if they feel they have been deceived or that their trust has been abused. Sometimes they set their targets too high, whether in relationship to their friends or in their career, but as the years pass they will become more realistic and tolerant. If they can develop their sense of self and realize it leaves room for others in their life as well, Rats can find true happiness.
In middle age, if everything goes smoothly, Rats will be able to achieve their life goals. Traditionally, Rats should avoid Horses, but they can usually find their best friends and love interests in Monkeys and Dragons.
I love monkeys and dragons.