In case you didn’t know, yesterday (Sunday) marked the beginning of Chinese New Year.
According to the Chinese zodiac, which is based on a cycle of twelve years; each of which is represented by a different animal; we are now in the year of the pig. I’m not sure what any of that means to the dogs of China, but I’ll bet those pigs are all partying like it’s 1999, if you know what I mean.
I recently learned that I was born in the year of the rooster, as was dad. This seems fitting considering we’re the only males of the house.
Mom was born in the year of the monkey, which sounds funny to me. Marley is from the year of the tiger and Zoe the year of the dragon. That’s probably the coolest one of all. Interestingly enough, none of us were born in the year of the dog. I would have liked that for myself.
From what I’m told, New Years is a big deal in China and the biggest holiday of the year. Unlike ours, which lasts only a day, theirs is a fifteen-day non-stop celebration, and from what I hear, everybody has a great time, including the dogs.
Here’s a brief description of some of what goes on. I might be a little off on some of the details, most of this stuff came from a couple of poorly worded Chinese web sites, both of which seemed a bit dubious.
Basically it goes like this:
The Chinese New Year starts on the day of the new moon, which marks the first day of the new year, and ends on the night of the full moon, fifteen days later. They spend the first day welcoming the Gods of heaven and earth and try to abstain from eating meat because they believe that will help them to live a long and happy life.
Personally that would be the hardest part for me because I love meat.
I’m a dog you-know.
On the second day, they pray to their ancestors as well as the Gods. They’re also extra nice to dogs and feed them well because they believe that the second day represents the birthday of all dogs. Imagine that. This would be my favorite day to celebrate.
The third and fourth days are for sons-in-laws to pay respect to their parent-in-law.
That would be the boring days.
The fifth day they call Po Woo. On that day they all stay home and welcome the God of wealth. No one goes out visiting on that day because it’s considered bad luck, besides, who wouldn’t want to be home when the God of wealth coming knocking on your door.
On the sixth to the tenth day everyone goes out and pays a visit to their friends and relatives, stop by a temple or two to pray for good fortune and good health. There’s also other stuff to do. On the seventh day farmers get to show off their produce. They also make a drink from seven types of vegetables as part of the celebration. It probably tastes something like V-8 juice, only with something missing.
The seventh day is considered the birthday of all human beings. What a party day that must be, considering China has well over a billion humans, the candles on the cake alone would be enough to trigger a global warming disaster.
Days eight through twelve are spent eating and drinking, visiting friends and having family reunions, basically just having a good time. There’s also a lot of praying to Gods and making offering and other such stuff when they’re not partying their asses off.
Finally by the time day thirteen and fourteen roll around it’s time to start cleansing the old system, if you know what I mean.
They probably go around saying things to each other like:
What happens in China stays in China.
The fifteenth day and the last night of Chinese New Year ends with something they call the Lantern Festival. By that time everybody's about had it and ready for sleep-sleep.
After the mess is all cleaned up and everything is all put away, everyone goes back to work making dog toys and stuff for Wal-Mart.
Overall I think this Chinese New Years thing sounds like great fun but I wish there was more fun stuff for the dogs. I do like that part about feeding dogs well and being extra nice to them on the second day, but I think there’s still room for improvement. Maybe when the year of the dog rolls around I’ll talk Mom into taking me to China on one of her trips. That would be totally cool, kind of a nice bonding experience, just Mom and I. She could show me around, we could shop for some new dog toys and maybe even go to one of those restaurants I’ve heard about where they say dogs are served.
Yeah. I think I’d like that. I could always use a good meal.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
to all the dogs of China.
to all the dogs of China.