2007-The Year Of The Boar in the Chinese Lunar Calendar

by Simon Wu - Date: 2007-02-05 - Word Count: 748 Share This!

For the 1.3-billion people in China and another estimated 100-million Chinese living overseas, February 18, 2007 will be a day when they greet each other Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin) or Kung Hei Fat Choi (Cantonese) as they welcome the year of the boar. This greeting literally means "greetings of happiness and prosperity" and the phrase has been around for thousands of years.

When you visit a Chinese household or place of business, you will very likely see several red signs or posters bearing Chinese characters in gold print. All of these are various ways of extending auspicious greetings of happiness and prosperity. One sign that is particularly popular is that of the Chinese character for "luck" printed in gold on a diamond-shaped red paper. But the important thing is that when hanging this sign, it must be hung upside-down because the Chinese believe that by doing so, luck will fall from heaven.

Another popular decoration is that of a fish, which is made from folding red paper and then setting the folded fish with different colored sequins and shiny gold paper trimmings which symbolize the fins and scales. The fish is common because the Mandarin word for fish is "yu", which is a homonym for "additional" or "surplus" and you should know by now what these words are used as reference to.

You will also find a lot of Chinese folks buying oranges in the groceries. The Chinese traditionally give each other oranges during the new year for two basic reasons--1) round fruits symbolize coins, which stands for fortune and 2) the Mandarin word for orange is "ji" which is a homonym for the Chinese word that means "good fortune". The elders also give gifts of money to the children. The cash is stuffed in red envelopes known as "hong bao"; in Hong Kong, these same red envelopes are called "lai see".

Another spectacular event during the celebration is the lion and dragon dance. These beasts are revered as powerful and they have the ability to ward off evil spirits. You may also notice firecrackers are set off during the dance and the noise from the firecrackers is also believed to drive away the evil spirits. The leader of the dance can be seen tossing an orange to the beasts, this is to symbolize feeding the beasts with additional fortune in their fight against evil.

On the dining table, common food items are spring rolls (to symbolize the coming of spring), steamed dumplings, sweet sticky cake, noodles, fish balls and meat balls, and lots of round-shaped fruits. Some of these food items may be regional in their significance, meaning certain regions in China hold specific significance to certain food items but the common denominator for all of China is the sweet sticky/glutinous cake. In Mandarin it is called "nin gao" or literally "new year cake". The belief is that the "nin gao" will help the people that eat them advance in their careers and achieve prosperity.

Some, maybe even all of these traditions may sound silly to the outsiders but they are actually very spiritual in nature. Keep in mind that the Chinese traditionally worship the earth and the fruits that she bears, such as her plants, fruits and animals. Which now brings us to the animal being celebrated this lunar new year--the boar.

The Chinese lunar calendar characterizes five types of boars--metal, water, fire, wood and earth. 2007 happens to be the year of the fire boar. The fire boar is especially stout-hearted and will pursue its plans to the very end with pig-headed determination. In this regard, the metal boar is further characterized by confidence, fearlessness and optimism. Because of its determination and optimism, the fire boar will try to endow its family members with a lavish lifestyle but at the same time it is also generous with others, even strangers. On the negative side, the fire boar can be emotional, insecure and opinionated to the point of bullying but not predisposed to quarrels.

Now that you know the characteristics of the year of the fire boar, please keep in mind that none of your actions throughout the course of the year should be influenced by them. But rather let them guide you in making sound decisions that will dictate your actions.

Actions guided by sound decisions will invariably produce sound results. And do not forget to set aside old grudges when you usher in the new year. These are not some ancient secrets kept hidden by the Chinese, they are free for everyone.

Related Tags: food, recipes, traditions, calendar, chinese lunar new year, boar, pig

The author is an information technology professional, father of two and self-proclaimed master of his kitchen. Prepare your own Chinese sweet sticky cake and other authentic Chinese meals with recipes from Mydimsum.com Chinese Recipes.

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