We are sure that you must have heard about the Chinese New Year at least once in your life. The Year of the Dragon, Chicken, Monkey and so many other animals must have kept you wondering ‘what do these animals signify?’ Do we celebrate these animals, or do they represent us? More so, since this is the Year of the Dog, do we pamper our furry counterparts? Or do we check to see if we were born in any of the dog years? Join us as we unravel the conundrum around this Chinese festival.
The Chinese calendar follows the lunar calendar. Hence, the Chinese New Year can fall anytime between January 21st and February 20th. This time, the Chinese New Year falls on 16th February, 2018. Each of the Chinese years represent one of the 12 zodiac animals that are reflected in Chinese culture, dog being one of them. Dog was identified as one of the zodiac animals owing to its closeness with the human being. Did you know that China was one of the first countries in the world who domesticated wolves and later, dogs? The fossils unearthed in China by researchers suggest that dynasties around 5500 BC domesticated dogs to hunt. Dogs are also deeply involved in the Chinese tradition. They are said to represent yang, the positive side of the yin yang symbol. Believed to thwart any dangers that befall their humans, a dog symbolises good luck in the Chinese culture.
But what does a Chinese zodiac year signify? Every animal represents the humans born in that year. People born in the dog year are said to possess all of the dog’s good qualities such as honesty, faithfulness, loyalty, sense of responsibility, smartness and more. The dog year comes once every 12 years. That’s not all. Each zodiac sign is associated with the five core elements, namely – earth, water, fire, wood and metal. Every element is repeated after 60 years. For instance, 2018 is the Year of the Earth Dog, which was previously celebrated in 1958. People born in the year of earth dogs are more serious, communicative and responsible.
Do you want to know if you are a dog? Check if you have been born in any one of these dog years – 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006. If you have indeed been born in a dog year, then you are in good company. Various international celebrities have been born in the dog year. From artists such as Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Madonna, Steven Spielberg, Ellen DeGeneres, Queen Latifah and Justin Bieber, to politicians like Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, Benjamin Franklin, Donald Trump and George Bush. From royalty such as Prince William and Kate Middleton to well-known personalities like Mother Teresa, Andre Agassi and Jane Goodall, the list of celebrities born in a dog year is endless!
The Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival is celebrated with utmost enthusiasm. The house is thoroughly cleaned and decorated with red lanterns. Distant and long-lost relatives are
visited. New items are bought for the home and for the family. The young are given ‘luck’ money and are encouraged to burst firecrackers. The most significant aspects of the celebration are the dragon and lion dances, which are colourfully captivating. Additionally, the performers beat drums and strike gongs to add merriment in the atmosphere. It is truly a spectacular sight!
Just because 2018 is the Year of the Dog doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate every year with your lovely furry companions! Adorn them with roses or orchids, considered to be lucky under the dog year, or wear matching outfits of either red, green or purple, believed to be auspicious for dogs. Additionally, if you need a reason to adopt a dog, then what is better than good luck? As mentioned earlier, a dog symbolises good luck, and bringing a dog home is considered extremely auspicious!
Dog year or not, we hope that the next 365 days do not bear witness to any kind of cruelty against dogs or any other animals. Lets Amen and woof to that!