Saturday, January 25, 2020

Happy Year of the Metal Rat!

Happy Lunar New Year!  So long Year of the Earth Pig!  Welcome the Year of the Metal Rat!
The Chinese zodiac cycle consists of 12 animal signs, one for each lunisolar year. This upcoming cycle is the Year of the Rat, the first sign; last year was the Year of the Pig. In folklore, the Jade Emperor held a competition to decide the zodiac animals. The rat asked the ox to carry him across the river, but jumped down before the ox crossed the finish line, winning the race.

According to the China Institute, the rat is a symbol of fertility and abundance. People born during this year (or previous Years of the Rat, such as 1984, 1996, or 2008) are believed to be intelligent, creative, and resourceful, and have the ability to form strong social bonds.

Additionally, each sign is associated with one of five elements — and this year’s is metal. So to get specific, 2020 is also the Year of the Metal Rat. Metal symbolizes stability and longevity, and according to the Daily Telegraph, those born in 2020 will “live a stable life and have the ability turn unlucky events into fortune.”
If that ends up coming to pass for my readers born in the Year of the Rat, great, but as I wrote last year quoting Earth Signs, "neither my readers nor I should take the astrology seriously as 'I consider all of this harmless but fun nonsense that I'm presenting for entertainment purposes'" — along with greater understanding of the diverse cultures of the world represented here in the U.S.

Speaking of which, watch Inside Edition's How do Some Asian Americans Celebrate Chinese New Year?

Lunar New Year falls on January 25 and the holiday is celebrated around the world, but not every family’s traditions look the same. reporter Johanna Li and her friend Marcia Hu visits the predominantly Asian American neighborhood of Flushing in New York City to discuss the lucky greetings, unique customs and delicious foods sampled around this time. Plus, find out what it means to be ringing in the Year of the Rat and how you can wish others a happy new year.
After watching the video from Inside Edition I used in History Channel and Inside Edition explain Hanukkah, I'm more impressed with how they depict holidays.  Inside Edition's interviewing people who celebrate the holidays they examine makes their reports not only more credible, but more informative and entertaining as well.

For another depiction of how Americans celebrate Lunar New Year, I turn to KING TV in Seattle, which uploaded Celebrating Lunar New Year at Wing Luke Museum.

The Lunar New Year is traditionally celebrated in Eastern Asia in countries such as China and Vietnam.
In addition to the countries named in the video, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, and Mongolia (but not Japan) also celebrate Lunar New Year, along with the Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese diasporas worldwide.  This is true in the U.S.; for example, John Choe, executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce in Queens, the neighborhood depicted in the Inside Edition video above, is Korean-American.

I wrote that I'm writing this entry not just for greater understanding and appreciation of the diverse cultures that make up America, but also for entertainment.  To that end, watch Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession 2020 - Year of the Mouse - Disney California Adventure from Attractions Magazine.

Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession is a celebratory parade led by Mulan that honors Lunar New Year and dedicates the new year’s blessings to family and friendship. As a special treat for the Year of the Mouse, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse join the procession in new celebration attire.
I don't know how authentically Chinese it is, but it is authentically Disney, which makes it authentically American.  Speaking of which, of course Disney would replace rat with mouse to feature the company's stars, Mickey and Minnie Mouse and feature Mulan, who will star in a live-action remake of the 1990s animated feature this year.  Now I'm wondering which character they will have as the guest star next year, Ferdinand the Bull or Clarabelle Cow.  If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on Clarabelle.

Enough of this year's festivities.  It's time to conclude this post with the generic greetings I've recycled many times over.

Mandarin: Gong Xi Fa Cai/Xin Nian Kuai Le

Cantonese: Kung Hei Fat Choi

Hokkien (Fujian/Taiwanese): Kiong Hee Huat Tsai/Sin Ni khòai lok


Simplified Chinese: 恭喜发财 新年快乐

Traditional Chinese: 恭喜發財 新年快樂


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