Much Ado About Mutton: Happy Chinese New Year
Happy New Year! Yes, tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 19 marks the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrated enthusiastically on the other side of the world with fireworks and fanfare.
If you’re like most people, your understanding of the Chinese zodiac doesn’t extend beyond what you see on the paper placemats at Szechuan Taste II in downtown Leadville. While you’re waiting for your wonton soup and egg roll, you refresh your memory as to whether or not you are a rabbit? Or maybe a rat? But if you’re a Sheep, then this is your year.
Tomorrow’s celebration comes with a bit of a controversy, a debate of sorts over whether the year is a sheep, a ram or a goat. Most references are to the sheep, however all three animals seem to be lumped together under one zodiac category.
The sheep (goat, or ram) is among the most liked animals. It is gentle and calm. Since ancient times, people have learned to use its fleece to make brushes for writing and skins for warmth or keeping wine.
On the other hand, sheep are also seen as weak and docile, more of a weak follower, than a strong leader. In fact, for “Sheep” people, 2015 is not looking like a particularly good year, filled with lots of fluctuation and instability.
In fact, it has been reported that many Chinese couples have rushed to have babies in the nearly over Year of the Horse (2014), or have put off plans for a child until the Year of the Monkey, which starts in 2016. Sounds, Baaaaaad! You can find more details on this website: LINK
Legend has it that the 12 creatures represented on the Chinese Zodiac calendar were the animals that Buddha invited to a celebration. While there the animals participated in a race across a river. The order of the animals on the calendar reflects their completion of the race – the rat placing first and the pig finishing last. The animal signs are repeated every 12 years. The Chinese believe that the animal ruling the year in which a person is born has a profound influence on personality.
The animal signs also serve a useful social function for finding out people’s ages. Instead of asking directly how old a person is, people often ask what his or her animal sign is. This would place that person’s age within a cycle of 12 years, and with a bit of common sense, you can deduce the exact age.
Since the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep is Colorado’s state animal, there’s hope that the Green Wooden Sheep year will be a good one for the Centennial State, especially those living In The ‘Ville.
Gung Hay Fat Choy (Happy New Year)!