Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ramblings of the Wooden Horse

There are twelve signs in the Chinese zodiac. They are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Each sign is symbolic of a Chinese lunisolar year, and repeats every twelve years. The year is also influenced by one of five elements; Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. I was born in 1954, and I am a Wood Horse. 

2011 is the Year of the Metal Rabbit (apparently, its colour is white).

To my friends who were born in 1951, or to those who intend to pop little, white-metal rabbit buns out of their ovens in this year, I can promise no great things. Nor do I offer any dire predictions. 4709 (by some Chinese calendars) will be as good a year to be born and to be alive as any other. Y'just gotta work with what ya got.

Rabbits are elegant, sensitive, gentle, peaceful and merciful - there's a good start! They are good friends and partners who care passionately about family, but still need their own space. They are paradoxically cautious and emotional. Metal rabbits are thought to be stronger; more determined and resilient (as opposed to those soft, pink, fuzzy bunnies, I guess).

Rabbits' wise parents will encourage their offspring to seek out the companionship of Pigs and Dogs, but to avoid Rats and Roosters. Often, they will be disappointed. There are an awful lot of roosters and rats out there, and bunnies will be what bunnies will be.

Chinese New Year's Day is the first day of Chun Jie, the Spring Festival, and even within China, the traditions and customs of its celebration are many and varied.

Wherever it's spread, though, it is celebrated with decorations, good food, new clothing and thoughtfully considered presents. Homes should be thoroughly cleaned, not only to rid them of last year's bad fortune, but to make room for this year's blessings too. Also, this is the time to reconcile with others, to let go of and forget all our grudges, and to offer everyone our sincere wishes for peace and happiness.

Sounds like a good beginning to me.

 (Gung Hai Fat Choi)

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