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Where EAST meets the Northwest

CUNNING CANINE. The Lunar New Year, which begins February 16 this year, marks the Year of the Dog. People born under the sign of the Dog are generally considered to be enthusiastic, responsible, loyal, and unselfish individuals who enjoy helping others. They are also known for their tendency to worry and can at times be judgemental. Pictured are dog-shaped lanterns on display outside a temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

From The Asian Reporter, V28, #3 (February 5, 2018), page 9.

Happy Lunar New Year! The Dog bounds in!

The Year of the Dog comes bounding in February 16, 2018, and its arrival will be celebrated by people throughout the world — not only in Asian nations such as China, Korea, Nepal, India, Vietnam, and Iran, but also in western and other countries. Considered by many to be the oldest calendar system in the world, the Chinese lunar calendar traces its origin back as far as 2637 B.C.E. Each year is represented by one of the 12 animals of the zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

As with many traditions, the observation dates back to an ancient legend: China’s Jade Emperor wished to determine the order of the calendar, so he called upon 12 animals in his kingdom to participate in a race, and the order in which they finished would ensure their placement in the calendar. The Rat, the Ox, and the Tiger scored the first three places, while the Dog finished toward the back of the pack in eleventh place, trailed only by the Pig. In 2018 we celebrate the imaginative and idealistic Dog.

Like many celebrations observed by multiple cultures, the Lunar New Year is known by many names. In Vietnam, it is known as Tet Nguyen Dan, while Korea celebrates Sol, Cambodia commemorates Chaul Chnam Thmey, and Thailand enjoys Songkran, which occurs in April. China recognizes the Spring Festival, Chuen Jie, when families and friends come together to wish one another happiness and pay respects to ancestors in a celebration that begins on the New Year and continues for 15 days.

Each culture has different traditions, and in the case of the lunar calendar, the animals that populate the yearly cycles may even differ. For example, in the Tibetan cycle, the Rat is referred to as the Mouse, the Rabbit as Hare, and the Rooster as the Bird; while in the Vietnamese tradition, the Rabbit is referred to as the Cat, the Sheep as Ram, and the Rooster as Cock.

Each animal recurs every 12 years, but in a different incarnation based on one of five elements — metal, water, wood, fire, and earth. For example, this year is the Year of the Earth Dog, which was last celebrated 60 years ago in 1958. After exiting February 4, 2019, the Earth Dog will not be back until 2078.

According to Chinese astrology, people born in a Year of the Dog (1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, and 2018) are known for their bravery, enthusiasm, and idealism. They are friendly and honest, but may also tend to be judgemental. Earth Dogs — including those born between February 16, 2018 and February 4, 2019 — are level-headed people with a keen sense of justice. They are very careful to consider all sides and evidence before making decisions, which makes them excellent arbitrators. Uncomplaining and hardworking, the needs of Earth Dogs are sometimes overlooked by loved ones.

New Year traditions

For many cultures, the arrival of the New Year marks a spiritual time in which celebrants give thanks at temples and pray for a year’s good luck. Another widely practiced tradition involves sweeping homes clean of evil spirits by literally cleaning and sweeping dwellings of dirt. In addition, new clothing is often purchased in commemoration of the New Year.

The Spring Festival ushers in China’s busiest travel season, a time when families journey great distances to celebrate with loved ones. In Thailand, revellers get wet and wild during Rohd Nam Songkran, a festival in which celebrants dowse one another with water to bring rain in the coming year.

Worldwide celebrations also bring out many culinary traditions. The Chinese traditionally eat dumplings and rice cakes in celebration of the Lunar New Year, while Vietnamese dine on a kind of rice cake called banh trung. Many in Korea spend their day preparing traditional foods, including duk-kuk, a rice cake soup.

Children celebrating the arrival of the Lunar New Year are greeted with many treats. In China and Vietnam, youngsters receive special red envelopes containing New Year’s money (in China, the envelopes are called hong bao). Korean children bow to their parents and grandparents and, in return, receive freshly minted money (though not in red envelopes).

The next Lunar New Year will bring the Year of the Pig, from February 5, 2019 to January 24, 2020. Have a safe and prosperous Year of the Dog!

* * *

The Year of the Dog

The Dog — the eleventh animal of the lunar zodiac — symbolizes justice and compassion. Those born under the Dog sign are generally considered to be intelligent and loyal individuals who are among the most likeable of all the zodiac signs.

Dogs born between February 16, 2018 and February 4, 2019 are Earth Dogs. The earth element makes for Dogs who are well-balanced and practical. Earth Dogs are idealistic but reasonable. They have high moral standards and expect the same from others, which can lead to heartbreak.

* * *

Dog facts

Year of the Dog: February 16, 2018 and February 4, 2019

Chinese Calendar Year: 4716

Dog Years: 1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030

Characteristics: Those born in the Year of the Dog are enthusiastic and responsible.

Dogs enjoy helping other people and make good friends due to their loyal and unselfish nature.

They value fairness and are quick to speak out against injustice.

However, they do have a tendency to worry and can at times be judgemental.

Best careers: Dog people make good healthcare workers,

teachers, writers, social workers, actors, and ministers.

Compatible signs: Tiger and Horse

Lucky numbers: 3, 4, 9

Born in the Year of the Dog:

Li Na, Chou En-lai, Qian Zhongshu, Chian Ching-kuo, Mother Teresa, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Elvis Presley, Queen Latifah, David Bowie, Andre Agassi, Lee Chong Wei, Jane Goodall, Steven Spielberg, Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, Donald J. Trump, Justin Bieber

* * *

What sign are you?

Find the year you were born. Those born in January or February should consult page 20.

1900, 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020 — Rat

1901, 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021 — Ox

1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022 — Tiger

1903, 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023 — Rabbit

1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024 — Dragon

1905, 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025 — Snake

1906, 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026 — Horse

1907, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027 — Sheep

1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028 — Monkey

1909, 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029 — Rooster

1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030 — Dog

1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031 — Pig

The Gregorian and Chinese lunar calendars

Animal Gregorian Chinese

Dog February 16, 2018 Year 4716

Pig February 5, 2019 Year 4717

Rat January 25, 2020 Year 4718

Ox February 12, 2021 Year 4719

Tiger February 1, 2022 Year 4720

Rabbit January 22, 2023 Year 4721

Dragon February 10, 2024 Year 4722

Snake January 29, 2025 Year 4723

Horse February 17, 2026 Year 4724

Sheep February 6, 2027 Year 4725

Monkey January 26, 2028 Year 4726

Rooster February 13, 2029 Year 4727

A few animal characteristics

Rat: Honest, idealistic, practical, sentimental, argumentative, greedy

Ox: Careful, diligent, eloquent, patient, eccentric, stubborn

Tiger: Ambitious, dynamic, honorable, loyal, critical, impatient

Rabbit: Artistic, considerate, intelligent, peaceful, hesitant, judgemental

Dragon: Energetic, faithful, generous, sincere, defensive, opinionated

Snake: Charitable, elegant, organized, reflective, anxious, possessive

Horse: Calm, confident, independent, talented, contradictory, moody

Sheep: Adaptive, creative, empathetic, polite, impractical, pessimistic

Monkey: Charming, sensitive, vivacious, wise, cunning, selfish

Rooster: Adventurous, courageous, funny, hardworking, cynical, vain

Dog: Brave, devoted, knowledgeable, trustworthy, disagreeable, strict

Pig: Affectionate, cheerful, obliging, optimistic, naïve, snobbish

Read your forecast for the Year of the Dog! Horoscopes by Madame Mingmei begin on page 12.


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