Archive for the 'Chinese New Year' Category
Chinese New Year: The Year of the Ox
Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar.
The Chinese year 4707 begins on January 26, 2009, and is celebrated as the symbol of spring’s celebration, after the fall harvest and before the spring planting season.
The date of the Chinese New Year is always changing and is dependent on the Chinese calendar, which was invented by Emperor Huangdi in the year 2637 B.C.E. Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.
Chinese have a unique way of representing the New Year through animals. Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. They have 12 different animals to represent each year of the 12 year-cycle and the order remains the same throughout with the year. As the Chinese year 2008 was signified as the year of the Rat, 2009 is the year of the Ox. January 26th marks the beginning of the 15-day-long festivities through February 9th.
SIGNIFICANCE & TRADITION:
The Chinese New Year is also known as Yuan Tan by the Chinese, which literally means let bygones be bygones. This special moment is commemorated on the second new moon after the winter solstice. Preparations for the Chinese New Year tend to begin a month from the date of the Chinese New Year. A huge clean-up is to be done before the New Year. Folks clean the house from top to bottom, to sweep away the dust of the gone year. They also give a new coat of red paint on the doors and windowpanes. As the color red is considered lucky and is believe that it scares the evil. The Chinese New Year is also a time to settle old debts. In ancient China creditors were allowed to pursue debtors. It is believed if by the New Year a debtor has not paid, he will be shamed as well as his family.
At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other’s homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year’s Eve.
Those born in an Ox year (2009 and every 12th year preceding it) characterizes a dependable, patient, methodical and calm, hardworking, materialistic as well as an ambitious character. They make excellent painters, surgeons, engineers, and architects. Ox are conservative. methodical, and good with their hands. Ox traits include: leadership qualities, great organizers, loyal, patient as well as strong and responsible. They are stable, fearless, obstinate, hard-working and friendly. They are also some of the best people one can have as colleagues in the workplace as they are believed to posses strong work ethics and display their creative side as well, especially when it comes to decorating their home. A born leader, Ox inspire confidence from all around them. Since the people born in the Ox year are also trusted to be reliable and logical, people generally turn towards them for suggestions and guidance. Their honesty and eye for details also helps them to prove their worth both in the workplace as well as in their personal lives.
Oxen include: Napoleon Bonaparte, Walt Disney, Jane Fonda, Clark Gable, Richard Nixon, Anthony Hopkins, Walt Disney, Rosa Parks, Sylvia Porter, and Vincent Van Gogh.
Promise of Prosperity:
Chinese Year of the Rat
Chinese New Year this time around is the Year of the Rat, which brings with it the promise of prosperity.
The Chinese admire the rat for its quick mind and ability to gather valuables and save them for the future. Since 2008 is the Year of the Rat, the year ahead should offer many opportunities to acquire wealth, as well as the ability to make choices that enable us to provide comfort for a long time to come.
Since the rat sign is the first in the Chinese zodiac calendar, we may feel the energy of a cycle beginning. We may also feel a pioneering spirit that helps us to forge ahead with a completely new endeavor. Looking beyond Western culture’s distaste for rats, we may be able to appreciate their ability to thrive in less than ideal conditions. This quality might offer us hope that whatever challenges we may face will only serve to make us stronger and more able.
The rat’s ability to solve problems is well-known, so we can choose to enjoy any challenge that helps us keep our minds sharp while also making life more of a game.
A competitive nature may develop within us, leading us to use the rat’s ability to focus on priorities.
The rat can also remind us to be less worried about pleasing everyone we meet and more focused on our goals.
We should be aware of the rat’s habit for collecting and not allow ourselves to become so focused that we neglect those around us. Being constantly on the alert for opportunity can be stressful, so we can make the decision to balance our pursuit of prosperity with the enjoyment of good food and atmosphere and the people we trust to offer us both support and space.
With the energy of challenge and possibility, the year is likely to be exciting without being explosive. The Year of the Rat is sure to offer the type of enjoyable challenges that will enable us to become all we can possibly be.
Chinese Proverb: Peace in the World
If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house.
If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.
My Cat’s New Year’s Resolutions
* My human will never let me eat her pet hamster, and I am at peace with that.
* I will not puff my entire body to twice its size for no reason after my human has finished watching a horror movie
* I will not slurp fish food from the surface of the aquarium.
* I must not help myself to Q-tips, and I must certainly not proceed to stuff them down the sink’s drain.
* I will not eat large numbers of assorted bugs, then come home and puke them up so the humans can see that I’m getting plenty of roughage.
* I will not lean way over to drink out of the tub, fall in, and then pelt right for the box of clumping cat litter. (It took FOREVER to get the stuff out of my fur.)
* I will not stand on the bathroom counter, stare down the hall, and growl at NOTHING after my human has finished watching The X-Files.
* I will not fish out my human’s partial plate from the glass so that the dog can "wear" it and pretend to be my human. (It is somewhat unnerving to wake up, roll over in bed, and see the dog grinning at you with your own teeth.)
* I will not use the bathtub to store live mice for late-night snacks.
* I will not drag dirty socks up from the basement in the middle of the night, deposit them on the bed and yell at the top of my lungs (Burmese LOUD yowling) so that my human can admire my "kill."
* I will not perch on my human’s chest in the middle of the night and stare into her eyes until she wakes up.
* We will not play Herd of Thundering Wildebeests Stampeding Across the Plains of the Serengeti over any humans’ bed while they’re trying to sleep.
* Screaming at the can of food will not make it open itself.
* I cannot leap through closed windows to catch birds outside. If I forget this and bonk my head on the window and fall behind the couch in my attempt, I will not get up and do the same thing again.
* I will not assume the patio door is open when I race outside to chase leaves.
* I will not back up off the front porch and fall into the bushes just as my human is explaining to his girlfriend how graceful I am.
* I will not complain that my bottom is wet and that I am thirsty after sitting in my water bowl.
* I will not intrude on my human’s candlelit bubble bath and singe my bottom.
* I will not stick my paw into any container to see if there is something in it. If I do, I will not hiss and scratch when my human has to shave me to get the rubber cement out of my fur.
* If I bite the cactus, it will bite back.
* It is not a good idea to try to lap up the powdered creamer before it dissolves in boiling coffee.
* When I am chasing my tail and catch my back leg instead, I will not bite down on my foot. This hurts, and my scream scares my human.
* When it rains, it will be raining on all sides of the house. It is not necessary to check every door.
* Birds do not come from the bird feeder. I will not knock it down and try to open it up to get the birds out.
* I will not stuff my rather large self into the rather small bird feeder (with my tail hanging out one side) and expect the birds to just fly in.
* I will not teach the parrot to meow in a loud and raucous manner.
* The dog can see me coming when I stalk her. She can see me and will move out of the way when I pounce, letting me smash into floors and walls. That does not mean I should take it as a personal insult when my humans sit there and laugh.
* Yes, there are still two very large dogs in the backyard. There have been for several years. I don’t have to act as if I’ve just discovered the Demon Horror of the Universe each time one of them appears in my window.
* I will not play "dead cat on the stairs" while people are trying to bring in groceries or laundry, or else one of these days, it will really come true.
* When the humans play darts, I will not leap into the air and attempt to catch them.
* I will not swat my human’s head repeatedly when she’s on the family room floor trying to do sit ups.
* When my human is typing at the computer, her forearms are *not* a hammock.
* Computer and TV screens do not exist to backlight my lovely tail.
* I am a walking static generator. My human doesn’t need my help installing a new board in her computer.
* I will not bring the city police to the front door by stepping on the speaker phone button and then the automatic 911 dial button.
* I will not speed dial the overseas numbers.
* I will not walk on the keyboard when my human is writing important emiognaioerp ga3qi4 taija3t v aa35 a.
* Any critter that lives in the house (hamsters), stay in the house and any wild critters (frogs and earthworms) stay outside. I am not allowed to set the hamster free in exchange for finding a frog to put in the fish tank.
* I will not stalk the deer in the apple orchard next door. They have sharp hooves and could hurt me if they weren’t laughing so hard.
* I will not watch the guinea pig constantly as the guinea pig likes to sleep once in a while.
* The goldfish likes living in water and should be allowed to remain in its bowl.
* I will not put a live mole in my food bowl and expect it to stay there until I get hungry.
* I will not eat spider plants and hallucinate behind the toilet.
* I will not drag the magnets (and the papers they are holding up) off of the refrigerator and then bat them underneath it so that they adhere to the underside.
* I will learn to relax at the vet’s office so they will start writing things in my records like "Good Kitty" and "Sweet Kitty" instead of the stuff that’s there now like "MEAN!!" "BITER!!!" and "GET HELP!!!!!"
* I will not be miffed at my human all day and then kiss her on the nose at 2:00 a.m. to tell her that she is forgiven and can now pet me.
* I will not scratch the children of lawyers, no matter how much they chase me or how hard they pull my tail.
* If I MUST claw my human, I will not do it in such a fashion that the scars resemble a botched suicide attempt.
* If I must give a present to my human’s overnight guests, my toy mouse is much more socially acceptable than a big live cockroach, even if it isn’t as tasty.
* I will not soak my catnip toy in the water bowl to make tea. I will not get high and sit there drinking my tea and kneading the floor afterwards. I will not then get delusions of grandeur and make tea in the toilet bowl or the tub. And I will not try to make tea with used socks, dirty panties or hair scrunches when my humans take the catnip toy away from me.
* A warm pepperoni pizza is not a good place for a nap.
* I will not drag a golf ball up the stairs and bat it around the tile floor of the office at 3:30 in the morning. Despite the fact it’s reportedly impossible for a cat to pick up a golf ball, not to mention carrying it upstairs, my human isn’t impressed with my resourcefulness at oh-dark-thirty.
* I will not swat glassware off the kitchen countertops just to watch it shatter on the tile floor.
* I will not sit right behind my human when she’s fixing dinner and then loudly complain about it when she steps on me.
* My human did not buy that rare betta fish as an early morning appetizer before my breakfast.
* Things that sting do NOT make good toys. This includes bees, wasps, and scorpions.
* No matter how frightening it may be, the vacuum cleaner isn’t actually trying to eat me.
* Items such as glasses and cell phones were not purchased as toys for me.
* "Breaking in" new furniture doesn’t mean using it for a scratching post.
* I will not try to help my human mop the kitchen floor by batting all the water out of my water bowl in the middle of the night.
* The kitchen table is not meant to be my pedestal where my loyal and devoted followers can worship my greatness. I should not take it personally when I’m unceremoniously removed deposited back onto the floor.
* I will not bulldoze over my human in an attempt to dart out the door as my human is coming in. This is an especially bad idea at night, and even more so when there are skunks in the yard.
* Skunks smell bad, are quick to panic, and don’t make good friends.
-Submitted by Michelle Weisser
Happy Chinese New Year!
The Year of the Rat begins Thursday, February 7
What can we learn from The Year of the Rat?
In ancient Chinese astrology, it’s a distinction to be born in the Year of the Rat. Unlike the garbage, plague and lab rats of Western culture, the Eastern Rat offers us rich benefits to take advantage of during 2008. Charming and disarming, this Rat is bright and ambitious, curious and imaginative, hard-working and persistent. The Rat is motivated by money and status, a natural leader, inspirational speaker, intriguing conversationalist and loyal friend. Do any of our Presidential candidates come to mind as you read this?
The 2008 Rat is the Earth Rat, a sign of acquisition, and has a knack with money and for saving for a rainy day (Isn’t this intresting, in light of our rampant financial illiteracy and volatile market? I’m also reminded that it is China that’s financing the US occupation of Iraq and the upcoming stimulus package…). The Earth Rat also carries with it the image of a misty mountain, representing clouded perceptions and unexpected outcomes. The lesson for Rats is to see what is real, develop self-awareness and consideration of others – even to put others first. What I glean from this brief character sketch is that 2008 is a year for each of us to raise our accountability, produce better results and make a greater contribution –
by seeing through the illusions that keep us stuck in our comfort zones and by communicating more truthfully and clearly with ourselves
by extending our leadership, speaking and conversational skills
by stretching our listening, mentoring and influencing the development of others
by mastering basic financial skills, such as budgeting, saving, balancing budgets, utilizing compound interests and teaching these skills to others and by more active appreciation and consideration of our loved ones
I invite you to ask – in each of these areas – what are the actions that will move you onward and upward? Through tapping into the power created by over a billion Chinese minds focused on the Year of the Rat, we will increase that power and be bouyed and boosted in our Rat endeavors in 2008.