The Year of the Dog

2006 – The Year of the Dog
2006 the Chinese celebrate the year of the dog, one of the twelve (12) animals, if you include the dragon, which is after all mythical, in the Chinese lunar cycle.  

As we in the West (America) follow horoscopes, the Chinese are really dialed into their lunar calendar and take it the entire matter rather seriously.

As for me, living in China, the interesting thing is that I get to celebrate two (2) New Year celebrations each year, January 1 and the Chinese Lunar New Year.  

For Chinese the week preceding their New Year is one of celebration, and a time when many travel home, to visit family.  As such this is a nationally recognized holiday, although many businesses remain open, some actually close their doors.

The good and bad news…for several days before and after the New Year, their will be the continuous bang of fireworks. This seems to go on non stop into the early morning hours, and while fireworks displays can be very enjoyable to watch, the continuous bank of fire crackers is a little unnerving, but after all, this is what living in China is all about. In case you don’t want to buy firecrackers, one of the Shanghai news magazines actually published detailed instructions on how to make your own! Imagine, you can sit down with the whole family and create your own fireworks display…really crazy when you think about it, but for the Chinese, this is considered okay.

As for safety and fireworks, I can’t say much for the Chinese understanding that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, as it is possible to buy, or make, any type of fireworks, including bottle rockets, and there seem to be no restrictions as to where or when they can be setoff.

The year of the dog is not one of the more popular years for Chinese, certainly not as popular as the year of the dragon, but from my point of view, it’s my favorite, as what animal is more deserving of recognition than mans best friend, the dog?

Unfortunately, a dog’s life can be rather grim in China; often dogs are neglected, and or end up on the dinner table. On the other hand, there are those Chinese that cherish their dogs, and treat the very well, like a family member, but these are in the minority.

So if your Chinese or not, remember to give your dog an extra threat, and show them respect due, in their special year, the Year of the Dog!

Chinese exchange money with family during New Year holiday, not gifts. Typically the money is placed in a red envelope often translated as a “red pocket” and amounts very. Which brings up an interesting question…how do you know if you’re a schmuck in China? Answer: Every year you give more money than you receive in return. From my experience, in my extended Chinese family, most people come out even after all the money has exchanged hands, except for me, the foreign schmuck.

FYI, years and animals:

RAT 1948, 1960,1972,1984,1996

OX 1949, 1961,1973,1985,1997

TIGER 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998

RABBIT 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999

DRAGON 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988

SNAKE 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001

HORSE 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990

SHEEP 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991

MONKEY 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992

ROOSTER 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993

DOG 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994

PIG 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995

If you are born in the year of the dog, you share this year with, Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton, Andy Roddick, Jennifer Lopez, Confucius  etc.

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One Response to “The Year of the Dog”

  1. Francois H. Pienaar Says:

    I see you haven’t posted in some time. Would you be willing to delete this blog so I can use the title?

    Thanks,

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