|Our special dinner! Aerial view!|
While I do not put much stock in fortunetelling, I am strangely charmed by the Chinese lunar calendar. There is a legend that explains it…
A long time ago, the Jade Emperor decided to have a grand race and all the animals in the kingdom were invited. 12 animals showed up at the event. Grateful for their efforts, the emperor rewarded them by naming each year of the Chinese Zodiac calendar after these animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
This is the Year of the Dog. Considering the perennial “underdog” Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl victory, I think it’s very appropriate. People born in a dog year share many of the best qualities of the canine. Dogs are loyal and loving, drawn to being a friendly presence in other people’s lives. The dog is gentler than other signs. The dogs take a cooler-headed approach to problems, rather than letting emotions flare up and get the better of reasoning. My Julie was born in 1994, a dog year, and those characteristics suit her.
I, on the other hand (paw?) am a 1956 model, which was a Year of the Monkey. According to my research, people born in the Year of the Monkey are clever and intelligent, especially in their career and wealth (wealth! Ha!). They are lively, flexible, quick-witted and versatile (aww shucks!). In addition, their gentleness and honesty bring them an everlasting love life (I do have my everlasting love, Steve, but I can’t credit either gentleness or honesty on my part). We do have several shortcomings, including an impetuous temper and a tendency to look down upon others. (Now we’re talking turkey—um, monkey).
For the past couple of years, inspired by Yaj’s presence in our lives, we have celebrated Chinese New Year with a home-cooked feast. The timing is perfect. Smack in the middle of the winter doldrums comes a colorful and festive occasion to boost our spirits. This year was made extra-special by a visit from my sister C. She, along with Julie and her boyfriend Gil, observed the beginning of the Year of the Dog with us, complete with Tsingtao beer and honey walnut shrimp.
|Some of the revelers|
So what will transpire in this Year of the Dog? We so desperately want to have control over our futures (or at least be able to predict them), that we read our tea leaves and our tarot cards and our newspaper horoscopes for clues. In reality, none of us know what will happen in the next minute, much less year. But we can look at our qualities as described by our signs, and work on emphasizing the positives. Julie can remain her loyal and loving self, and I can aspire to monkeylike liveliness and flexibility.
If we all work on being our best selves, every day, we can make this year a winner, for everyone. We can place in the Jade Emperor’s race, in 2018 and always.
Sshin-nyen haoww! Happy Chinese New Year!