Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Year Of The Pig

Today is the start of the Chinese New Year. Each year, the Chinese New Year celebration falls on the date of the first new moon on the Chinese lunar calendar, which can be in late January or early to mid-February. Arrival of the New Year is an important celebration on the Chinese calendar. It’s a time for cleaning house, repaying debts, enjoying feasts, remembering ancestors, renewing family ties and distributing “laisee” packets (red envelopes that hold gifts of money) which Chinese tradition says brings luck to both giver and receiver. The new year festival lasts for at least 15 days, until Yuen Sui, or Feast of the Lantern.

The new year is also considered “everyone's birthday,” a day on which all become a year older and gift giving is prevalent. “Gong Xi Fa Cai” is a typical greeting and means “wishing you luck and prosperity.”

Legends surrounding the origins of the ancient holiday abound. One well-known story says the word “nian” (or “year”) was the name of a man-eating dragon. Nian terrorized the country until a wise man convinced the dragon to eat other beasts, then advised the people to put red decorations on windows and doors to scare away Nian, in case the dragon changed his mind. Families put up red paper decorations, set off firecrackers, and beat drums and gongs in parades to scare away Nian. Houses may be decorated with symbolic flowers, fruits and colorful pictures to welcome the new year. The color red symbolizes the celebration and gold appears as a tribute to the brilliance of Chinese culture.

The 12-year cycle in the Chinese calendar recognizes each of a dozen animals in the Chinese zodiac – rat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. 2007 is the Year of the Pig. But some say this is no ordinary pig. Claims that 2007 is the "Year of the Golden Pig," which occurs every 600 years, have been made by fortune tellers but unconfirmed by folklorists. Legend has it that anyone born in the "Year of the Golden Pig" will have good fortune and lead wealthy, comfortable lives. I wonder if Mia will be born this year?
Gung Hay Fat Choy!

14 comments:

Jennifer "Jenny" said...

Happy New Year Krista!

C.J. said...

Happy CNY, of course!

I think you'll have a year of the piglet and me a year of the puppy!

Sam said...

Gung hay fat choy! Sun nien fai lok! Xin nian yu kuai!!

Had a great time last night! See you on March 30th, if not before!

Lee-Anne said...

I reckon the beautiful Mia, will be a golden pig! I know it's not nice to call someone a pig - but in this instance it's a compliment!!! he he he! I'm not as clever as Sam, so I'll just say...

HAVE A GOOD ONE!

Melissa said...

Happy CNY to you also!

Mark & Michelle said...

I hope you enjoyed your New Year!!

I hope Mia will be a 'golden' pig!

tracy said...

Happy Chinese New Year to you!

Colleen said...

Happy CNY to you! Yes I think you will have a year of the big sweetie!! :)

Doris & Dan said...

Xin Nian Hao - Happy New Year!!!

Keep smilin!

a&mg said...

A very happy new year to you!

Catherine said...

Happy New Year Krista!

Read about the party on Connie's blog. Sounds like you had a great time! Missed all of you seeing the pics of our MCM's all together. Maybe we can swing another get together later this year?

kris said...

I loved this post!
Happy Year of the Golden Pig to you!
Kris

Norma said...

Happy CNY, Krista! Whether Mia is a "golden pig" or not, she will have the good fortune of having you for her Mommy!

Mommy-To-Channing said...

Happy Chinese New Year to you too!! This will be the best year for both of us!!!