The Other I

February 4, 2011

Celebrations of the Rabbit

Filed under: Cultural Differences — theotheri @ 8:41 pm

Yesterday was the first day of the Chinese New Year.  This year it is the year of the Rabbit.

I’m not completely ignorant of the year’s of other cultures besides my own.  Our school calendar always provided for the Hebrew calendar and latterly for the calendar of Muslims.  But apart from vaguely noting that the Chinese seemed to name their years after animals, I was pretty uninformed.

Having checked it out on Wikipedia, I fear I now know why.  There are twelve animals after which the years are named.  But some years are yin and others yang.  There are also five elements – wood, water, fire, earth, and metal – and positive and negative “stems” that run in ten-year cycles.  It takes 60 years to repeat a new year with exactly the same characteristics.

Besides that, the Chinese year is calculated on a “lunisolar” basis, and starts on various days usually sometime in January or February.

Celebrations last for fifteen days.  And just to make things more complicated, it’s called a “spring” festival.

I’m beginning to understand why the Chinese have a reputation for being so good at math.

Personally, I can’t even calculate on my own when Easter is going to occur each year.  So in relation to Chinese new year, I myself would opt for looking it up on a calendar.

I did, though, look up the rabbit, whose year it now is.  People born in the Year of the Rabbit are supposedly articulate, talented, ambitious,virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Rabbit people are admired, trusted,  like to gossip and seldom lose their temper.

Didn’t look a bad group to be associated with.

But I seem to have been born in a year of the Dragon.  That might be why I fall down on those “talented, ambitious, and virtuous” parameters.


1 Comment »

  1. chinese culture is most interesting – next year is I think dragon year and the dragon is, from memory. the most esteemed animal of the group !!!


    Comment by lairdglencairn — February 5, 2011 @ 10:39 am | Reply

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