Inevitably, I’ve been thinking a lot about the upcoming Lunar New Year. The idea of a lunar new year is appealing to me because it seems less arbitrary than one based on the numbers assigned by [Hail!] Caesar. Plus, I take issue with the whole 0.25 of a day thing that leads to Leap year. Paradoxically, I love the idea of a leap year, just not the required accounting to arrive at one.
But, I digress.
The Chinese Lunar New Year is based on the lunisolar Chinese Calendar, generally falling between the last half of January and the first half of February. This means you have to do a little research on your animal sign if you birthday falls early in the Julian year. [However, in spite of your astrological ambiguity, according to Malcolm Gladwell, you are far more likely to end up one of those superlative outliers.] Chinese New Year is the main holiday here and not only for lai see. [Lai see is supposed to be handed out to “young people” be married people. I think this is a grand tradition. Except for the fact that according the Chinese standards I am no longer young and therefor the offer of lai see to me is a suggestion that I need to get my shit together and get married. Bummer.] It is known as the Golden Week and this is a great benefit for all of us as the factories in Guangzhou shut down and so we usually have a week of really nice, relatively unpolluted weather. Some of the other things that I love about the Chinese New Year festival include the flowers, the orange trees, the lights… vacation… and of course all the superstitions. Meet me, the Dog:
The Dog is wonderfully hard worker, a perfectionist and someone who loves the small details. He is also a bit anti-social, pessimistic and stubborn. They are one of the most honest and loyal signs of the Chinese zodiac and will always go to bat for a worthy cause. The Dog is a fantastic listener and his advice is usually very intuitive.
To this end I get a kick out of looking into my Chinese astrological predictions for the upcoming year. Several of my local Chinese friends are absolutely fanatical about seeing their astrologer or fortune tellers prior to the start of the new lunar year. [This spills over into business too as everyone makes a very concerted effort to conclude all business dealings initiated in the current year before the new one begins regardless of it having nothing to do with the fiscal calendar at all.] I think astrology is great fun and sometimes I get a little uncomfortable with its accuracy (one reason I have not yet deigned to see a fortune teller – do I really wanna know?) Looking at my horoscope, because I’m a Dog – which always reminds me of Peter Venkman, going, “So… she’s a dog…” – I am pretty excited for this year. According to one site, for Dogs, the year of the white metal Tiger is:
It doesn’t get much better than this. The Year of the Tiger may as well be The Year of the Dog, as you’re not likely to have a more fortunate year, even when your own sign is ruling. In fact, it is the Dog who can expect the most from 2010. Perhaps you are a typical, cautious, unassuming, nostalgic Dog sign person. Forget all that! This is a year to make your mark on the world. The biggest mistake you can make is to sit on the sidelines. There will be plenty of action, and you need to be right in the middle of it. Ride the Tiger to fame and glory. Do the most outrageous thing you have contemplated but could not bring yourself to initiate. There is not a better time in sight, especially if you require a little luck to succeed. Now is also when you want to plan that momentous occasion celebrating the next phase of your life.
Hell yeah. That sounds like a year to behold. (Or be old, as one of my students just said… Nice one, kid.) We used Chinese horoscopes as fodder for creative writing today – we have been studying superstition, allegories and Gothic traditions in literature – and so we all got look at our horoscopes and determine what we though of the accuracy. Most people thought they were more accurate than not… for me.. I found it absolutely spot on.
Here are some of the high points from the site we used:
The Dog is the most likeable sign in the Chinese zodiac… loyal with a capital “L”… the one who people are most likely to turn to when they need help… will come through every time… sensitive to others and empathizes with them, particularly if someone has suffered an injustice, reacting quickly with the same feeling, as though he/she had been personally offended… honest, intelligent and straightforward… will take on any responsibility that is given to them and you can be sure that they will do their job conscientiously and well.
Dog people are often born old and get younger as they age.
… a great sense of integrity and fair play… idealistic, and dreamers to the core… tend to be easily upset and shocked more often than the other more realistic zodiac types… a pessimistic side to their character… their spirit is drained when they hear of situations beyond their control, such as natural or human disasters… natural to long for everything to be done in the best possible way and is often anxious about the potential problems that may occur… a strong sense of duty and responsibility…
If you need anymore proof that I am a total Dog… check out what they say my positive and negative traits are:
attentive, well-meaning, helpful, warm-hearted, altruistic, modest, devoted, philosophical, dutiful, discreet, intelligent and enthusiastic.
but also can be…
nasty, mean-spirited, disagreeable, bad-tempered, self-righteous, judgmental, quarrelsome, accusing, nervous, anxious and impossible to live with.
I would certainly be curious to see how accurate you found these lunar renderings (mine or yours…) Until then, I leave you with these fabulous lyrical stylings à la Survivor, straight outta 1982… which was, for the record, the year of the D-O-G.
(Tiger photo from here.)