Straightforward on the surface, complex, confusing and mysterious at the core, the Chinese New Year all comes down to the position of celestial bodies within the Milky Way, and the anthropomorphic traits attributed to their moments in time.
The Chinese started counting time 4,703 years ago. Their calendar is lunisolar, meaning that it tracks both the phases of the moon and the seasons.
The Chinese calendar starts each month with the new moon; each year starts on the second new moon after the winter solstice. Year 4703 – 2006 by the Gregorian calendar – is the year of the dog. Starting Jan. 29 for 15 days, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese, and other people influenced around the world by the Chinese, will be celebrating the new year. Projections for the year seem pretty good, since the dog is characterized as honest, loyal, ethical and a friend to the less fortunate. Chinese astrology sources project a climate of people coming together globally to address political strife and encourage peace – a kind of change in mentality that can lead to positive world political cooperation and action.
Every year has governing elemental properties. Feng shui practitioner Raymond Lo (www.raymond-lo.com) interprets this year’s like this: “The fire standing on top is yang fire, which is compared to the Sun. This element symbolizes openness, optimism, warmth, politeness and care. As such, it is anticipated that there will be more open and honest peace talks and settlements leading to a more harmonious atmosphere, which the world has been lacking for many years. The earth underneath, representing the dog, has the implication of the ‘gate of Hell’ and ‘storage of fire.’ This character often carries spiritual and religious implications.”
Lo points out that because the Chinese calendar goes on a 60-year cycle, with the animals and elements repeating, old-timers have experienced a year like this one before. He writes, “…we have experienced the same year of yang fire on earth dog in 1945 when the Second World War was finally over and the world powers were concentrating on recovering from the war and rearranging a new world order. The United Nations had its first meeting in 1946.” It seems like that was indeed a year of peace, harmony and looking out for the less fortunate.
To celebrate the new year, Chinese restaurants around town will be offering lunches, dinners, entertainment and activities. Here and around the world, Chinese lions will dance in the new year. It’s a loud, rambunctious and colorful sight to behold.
Denia Argüello, co-owner of Don Wang restaurant in San José, explained the lions’ significance.
“The lions represent good luck, because they have no fear,” she said. “Don’t be afraid of the new year – show the new year you will face it without fear. Temples in China used to have two lions at the entrance, to scare away enemies or bad luck. And the lions also signify happiness – they’re dancing to show how happy they are for the new year.”
Don Wang, on Calle 11, between Avenidas 6 and 8, will be holding a special new year celebration Jan. 29, featuring dancing lions, a “good luck” menu and Chinese horoscopes. The special menu will also be servedat lunch and dinner Jan. 30 to Feb. 5. The cost is ¢8,000 ($16). For information or reservations, call 233-6484.
Right next door, Tin Jo will be holding its new year celebration Jan. 28, featuring a buffet lunch of traditional Chinese dishes, dancing Chinese lions, Chinese horoscopes and artists who will write guests’ names in Chinese letters. Kids’ activities will include chopsticks lessons, Chinese painting and writing, Chinese lanterns and more. The cost is ¢12,500 ($25) for adults, ¢6,000 ($12) for kids 5-12 and free for kids under 5. For information or reservations, call 221-7605.
Not to be outdone, the Chinese Association on Calle 25, between Avenidas 8 and 10, will be offering a new year dinner of traditional Chinese dishes. Chinese lions will bring in the new year here as well, dancers ages 6-50 will perform and live music will be played on the ibu, a traditional Chinese string instrument. Dinner costs ¢4,000 ($8) per person. For information or to reserve, call 257-8392.
Dog (1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006): This will be a lucky year, if you do not undermine it with errors in judgment and gossip. You’ll have good ideas and achievable original projects. Don’t disclose your plans; remind yourself that “the lion while hunting doesn’t roar.”
Pig (1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995): Changes take place in your life. They will be positive and profitable if you know how to appreciate and handle them. Don’t let the past and useless details choke your existence. Try to get rid of all that impedes your march or hampers your spontaneity and joy.
Rat (1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984,
1996): This year you’ll experience great satisfaction in parts of your life. These will be quiet and not likely to entail a noticeable upheaval in your existence. They may simply make you happy, enthusiastic and relaxed, without your having to make exhausting adjustment efforts.
Ox (1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985,
1997): You’ll begin the year with good resolutions: to pull away the weeds of doubt and boredom, to dispel misunderstandings. But such things are easier said than done. Fortunately, astral influxes will stimulate your willpower.
Tiger (1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986,
1998): Quality of life first. You will devote more time to living well than to earning money or climbing the social ladder, and you’ll regret having forgotten to live for so long.
Rabbit (1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975,
1987, 1999): You’ll have a marvelous attitude most of the time over the course of this year. More sociable than ever, you’ll be at ease everywhere. The stars promise you easy contacts and alliances that you’ll appreciate above all.
Dragon (1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976,
1988, 2000): You’ll devote time and energy to successfully concluding projects you have your heart set on, but some unexpected obstacles will slow down their progress and put your patience to the test. Try to be less tense and you’ll be promptly rewarded, as this year the stars greatly favor patience and tenacity.
Snake (1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977,
1989, 2001): You’ll probably have no serious problems to cope with this year, and you can experience intense joys in many areas if you have a reasonable attitude. Your courage and energy will be on the upswing. Great amorous joys are coming.
Horse (1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990,
2002): Your social prestige will be on the upswing. On the other hand, astral dissonances will have a negative effect on your personality. As a result, the undesirable traits of your character will tend to overwhelm your finer qualities. You must make great efforts to prevent your weaknesses from overcoming your strong points.
Goat (1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991,
2003): This year you’ll benefit from excellent astral influxes. You’ll know how to profit by life and the events it brings about. You’ll succeed in most of your dearest projects. You will have to cope with questions that may be brutal and painful, but this will bring about an improvement in your attitude and heart.
Monkey (1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980,
1992, 2004): This year will give you occasions to prove your own worth. Don’t hesitate to launch your projects. To achieve your objectives, be organized and call on your courage and tenacity. Think about controlling your instincts better.
Rooster (1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981,
1993, 2005): Your personality will bloom this year – you’ll be less withdrawn, and you’ll look more for the company of others. The year will be favorable to exploring your creative talents. Set your imagination free. (Based on Chinese.astrology.com)