2019 Chinese New Year of the Pig
Chinese New Year is a big deal in Hawaii. If you don't know much about it,
here's your chance to catch up. The new year is a festival that celebrates the
beginning of the new year on the Chinese calendar. It's called the Spring
Festival and traditionally is to honor deities and ancestors. Traditions include
throughly cleaning one's house to sweep away ill-fortune and make way for
good luck. Windows and doors are decorated with red paper designs
representing wealth, happiness and long life. Fireworks are massive, loud and and long-lasting.
The Pig is the twelfth of all
Chinese zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party.
Pig was late because he overslept. Another story says that a wolf destroyed his house. He had to rebuild it before he could set off. When he arrived, he was the last one and could only take twelfth place.
In terms of yin and yang, the Pig is yin. In Chinese culture, pigs are the symbol of wealth.
Their chubby faces and big ears are signs of fortune as well.
If you are born in the year of the pig:
1935 1947 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007 2019
...you may not stand out in a crowd but you are very realistic, while some may be all talk and no action. Though not wasteful spenders, you let yourself enjoy life, love entertainment and will occasionally treat yourself. You are a bit materialistic, but this is motivation for you to work hard. Being able to hold solid objects in you hands gives you security. You are energetic and are always enthusiastic, even for boring jobs. If given the chance, you will take positions of power and status and you believe that only those people have the right to speak, and that's what you want.
Men born in the year of the pig are optimistic
and gentle. They are very focused. Once they
decide on a goal, they'll put everything into it.
They are not the best with money. Though
cool-headed, they are also gullible. They
trust others easily and are often
scammed. This can cause them to lose a
fortune. These men are also quiet. They
love learning but don't really know how to put their knowledge into words. They're not conversationalists, but treat everyone warmly. This results in a large social circle. Whenever they run into difficulties, there are always people who stand up to help. Though people will lie to them, more will love them.
Women born in the year of the pig are full of excitement. They attend social events whenever possible
and treat everyone genuinely. Combined with their easygoing personality, they gain everyone's
trust. However, they are
sometimes over-friendly. In
their excitement, they can forget
to give others personal space.
They also have good fortune with wealth. As long as they keep at it,
their efforts will not go to waste.
Though they don't start with an advantage, their hard work will
keep money flowing in. At home,
they are highly organized. If the
room is messy, they'd stay up
the entire night to clean it up. These women love children too. Playing with children is one of the things that bring them the greatest joy.
Chinese New Year Taboos
The Spring Festival is a time of celebration and to welcome the new year with a smile and let the fortune and happiness continue on. At the same time, it strict rules and restrictions to insure happiness, health and a good harvest.
Here are the top 10 taboos during the Chinese New Year. Follow these and fortune will smile on you.
1. Do not say negative words
All words with negative connotations are forbidden. These include: death, sick, empty, pain, ghost, poor, break, kill and more.
You wouldn't want to jinx yourself or bring those misfortunes onto you and your loved ones.
2. Do not break ceramics or glass
Breaking things will break your connection to prosperity and fortune. If a plate or bowl is dropped, immediately wrap it with red paper while murmuring auspicious phrases. After the New Year, throw the wrapped up shards into a lake or river.
3. Do not clean or sweep
Before the Spring Festival, there is a day of cleaning to sweep away the bad luck. But during the actual celebration, it becomes a taboo. Cleaning or throwing out garbage may sweep away good luck instead.
If you must, make sure to start at the outer edge of a room and sweep inwards. Bag up any garbage and throw it away after the 5th day. Similarly, you shouldn't take a shower on Chinese New Year's Day.
4. Do not use scissors, knives or other sharp objects.
Sharp objects in general will cut your stream of wealth and success. This is almost all hair salons are closed during the holidays. Hair cutting is taboo and forbidden until all festivities are over.
5. Do not visit the wife's family
Traditionally, multiple generations live together. The bride moves into the groom's home after marriage. And, of course, she will celebrate Chinese New Year with her in-laws.
Returning to her parents on New Year's Day means that there are marriage problems and may also bring bad luck to the entire family. The couple should visit the wife's family on the 2nd day. They'd bring their children, as well as a modest gift.
6. Do not demand debt repayment
This custom is a show of understanding. It allows everyone a chance to celebrate without worry. If you knock on someone's door, demanding repayment, you'll bring bad luck to both parties. However, it's fair game after the 5th day. Borrowing money is also taboo. You could end up having to borrow the entire year.
7. Avoid fighting and crying
Unless there is a special circumstance, do not cry. But if a child cries, do not reprimand them. All issues should be solved peacefully. In the past, neighbors would come over to play peacemaker for any arguments that occurred. This is all to ensure a smooth path in the new year.
8. Avoid taking medicine
Try not to take medicine during the Spring Festival to avoid being sick the entire year. Of course, if you are chronically ill or contract a sudden serious disease, immediate health should still come first. Also don't visit the doctor, dot't perform/undergo surgery and don't get shots.
9. Do not give New Year blessings to someone still in bed
You are supposed to give New Year blessings but let the recipient get up from bed first. Otherwise, they'll be bed-ridden for the entire year. You also shouldn't tell someone to wake up. You don't want them to be rushed around and bossed around for the year. Take advantage of this and sleep in!
10. Chinese gift-giving taboos
This is very important, so see below.
Lucky things for Pigs
Colors: yellow, gray, brown
Directions of auspiciousness: southeast, east
Directions of wealth: northeast
Directions of love: north
Colors: blue, green
There's no set date for Chinese New Year. According to the Lunar calendar, the Spring Festival lasts until the 15th (the full moon). Unlike western holidays such Thanksgiving or Christmas, when you try to calculate it with the solar (Gregorian) calendar, the date is all over the place.
Chinese New Year ranges from January 21 to February 20. This year (2019), it occurs on February 5th. Next year (2020) it will occur on January 25th and will be the year of the rat.
Much attention is given to items that are given and received. These should not be gifts, especially during Spring Festival.
New Year Gifts to Avoid
Giving somebody a sharp object indicates you want to cut off your relationship with them.
In Chinese, the number four sounds
similar to the word for death.
Therefore, anything with the number 4 is considered unlucky so do not give gifts in sets or multiples of four.
Shoes are a bad idea for a present for Chinese New Year because the word for "shoe" sounds exactly like a word for bad luck or "evil". On top of that, shoes are something that you step on, and are thus not good gifts. Avoid shoes at all costs.
People generally give handkerchiefs at the end of a funeral, and are a symbol of saying goodbye forever. Giving someone a gift like this insinuates you are saying goodbye forever, and severing all ties.
In Chinese, saying "giving a
clock" sounds exactly like the
Chinese words for "attending a
funeral ritual" and for this it is bad
luck to gift clocks or watches. Clocks and watches also symbolize the running out of time. This is especially true for seniors. Giving a clock or watch as a gift is the biggest no-no in Chinese culture.
Giving fruit is a good thing,
but pears are taboo. This is
because the Chinese word for "pears" sounds the same as the word for leaving or "parting".
Cut flowers are generally presents for funerals, so do not give them on Chinese New Year! This is especially so for Yellow Chrysanthemums and any white flowers, which represent death. White is an unlucky (funeral) color in Chinese culture, so white flowers should be avoided.
Not a good gift because the Chinese
word for "umbrella" sounds like the word
for "breaking up". Giving somebody an umbrella may be seen as you feel your relationship with them has fallen apart.
Black or White Objects
Black and White are important colors in funerals, so no presents that are largely black or largely white, or wrapping paper or envelopes in these colors. Red is always a great option for envelopes, or gifts.
Mirrors are a bad idea for gifts throughout much of Asia, as they are believed to attract malicious ghosts. On top of that, they are easily broken and breaking things is a bad omen.
The Chinese Spring Festival is one of the world's largest celebrations. It's all part of Chinese New Year which is February 5th.
RHS'69 webmaster Courtney Harrington did some homework and pulled together a whole bunch of information and do-and-don't for ringing in the new year of the pig.
Check out 2020 - Year of the Rat .