2019 is the Year of the Pig – what does that mean?

It’s that time in the year; Chinese New Year this year fell on 5th February, and it’s now the year of the Pig. My favourite place to stop for take-out has been handing out red-wrapped sweets like nobody’s business.

New Year lion

A lion dancing in the Vancouver New Year festival.

I happily participate in most festivals that involve food, bright colours, and excitement, so the Chinese New Year parade is a favourite. Vancouver Chinatown closes its main street for most of the day on the closest convenient weekend, and there’s music, lions, dragons, and firecrackers – and, when I go, usually a stop at a dumpling place, because as far as I’m concerned, diet is mostly ‘die’ with a prosthetic ‘t’ on the end. Mmm, dumplings.

So why is the Chinese New Year sometime around the end of January or early in February? Basically, the Chinese calendar is a lunar calendar. The exact date of the New Year will wiggle around compared to the Gregorian calendar because the Chinese New Year will always hit the date of a new moon, meaning it can occur pretty much any time between 21st January and 20th February in a given year.

Year of the Pig

Dragon dancing in the New Year festival.

This year is the year of the Pig, and in the Chinese zodiac, the Pig is the twelfth sign of twelve. It’s not generally considered one of the movers and shakers, as zodiac signs go; people born in the year of the Pig are reputed to be on the clumsy side, maybe a little fond of food and sleep – but, on the positive side, they’re not malicious, and can attract wealth. Unfortunately, people born a Pig are liable to have a fairly crappy time of it this year, with some job struggles, possible health trouble, no sizzling romance, and the promise that they’re going to need to exercise a lot of patience. (Help! How do I find out if I was born a Pig?)

Chinese zodiac signs are assigned based on the year you were born, rather than the month, and, if you want to get fancy, the signs also have five elements (Earth, Air, Metal, Fire, Water). So, for me, born mid-year 1981, I’m a gold Rooster, otherwise pronounced mostly considerate until someone crosses a line, at which point you fall over the fact that the Rooster is the most independent sign in the Chinese zodiac and they’re stubborn as hell.

A Pig year isn’t going to be all roses and sunshine for my sign, but it’s not set to be a proper bastard either. Last year was a Dog year, which was a bit evil for Roosters; small screw-ups turning into major gold-plated cock-ups (see what I did there?), minor health problems dragging on, and a decent chance of being in a perpetually bad mood. (…actually, that sounds oddly familiar.)

If you want to find out what your Chinese zodiac sign is, and what’s coming up for you in the year of the Pig, check it out and let me know in the comments!

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