Gung Hey Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year 2015!
The Year of the Goat
It’s Chinese New Year 2015! This year is the Year of the Goat! Though the Chinese word 羊 (yáng) is a generic term that refers to a sheep, goat or ram, many Chinese people believe that the animal in the Chinese zodiac is actually the goat. There are explanations to support their belief such as the fact that the Han people raised goats and not sheep, and the Chinese zodiac was invented by the Han people in that era.
The image of a goat also appears in art work, New Year’s paper cuttings, stamps, etc. The goat was also one of the twelve bronze statues of the Chinese zodiac.
If you were born in 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, you were born in the Year of the Goat!
The Goat’s Personality
Apparently, those born in the year of the goat are supposed to be calm and gentle. I’m laughing now because when Grampy had his pet goat, Billy the Goat was calm and gentle…until he became an adolescent! When he became a “teenager”, Billy the Goat used to take a running start and ram into me when I wasn’t looking! Even though he was a royal pain, I miss that goat!
People born in a year of the Goat are generally believed to be gentle, mild-mannered, shy, stable, sympathetic, amicable, and they have a strong sense of kindheartedness and justice.
People born in the year of the Goat are also said to have delicate thoughts, strong creativity, and perseverance. Those under the sign of the Goat are believed to acquire professional skills well. Though appearing gentle on the surface, they are tough on the inside, always insisting on their own opinions in their minds. Ha! I wonder — is there an expression “stubborn as a goat?”
Those born in the Year of the Goat also have strong inner resilience and excellent defensive instincts. Ha! Again, I am reminded of our dear Billy the Goat!
A few years ago, I read somewhere that people born in the year of the goat prefer to be in groups, but do not want to be the center of attention. They are reserved and quiet, most likely because they like spending much time in their thoughts. Goats like to spend money on fashionable things that give them a first class appearance. Although goats enjoy spending money on the finer things in life, they are not snobbish.
Interesting Chinese New Year tidbit: Since the Chinese zodiac recurs every twelve years, your animal year will come around when you are 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, etc.
Did you know?
It’s supposedly bad luck when your zodiac year comes around! According to ancient Chinese superstition, in your birth sign year, those of that sign will offend the God of Age. As a result, those born in the year of the current Chinese zodiac sign will have bad luck during that year. Another interesting superstition is that the best way to avoid bad luck during this year is by wearing something red given by an elder/relative. Red “lucky” items can be an item such as socks, underwear, a waistband, a bracelet, or an anklet.
Chinese New Year Food
There are food items that are traditional during Chinese New Year. Among these special Chinese New Year food items include:
- Long noodles for long life.
- Nian gao – cake/steamed sweets for achieving new heights in the coming year (gao sounds like the same word in Chinese for tall or high).
- Tangerines and oranges – displaying and eating these citrus fruits is said to bring wealth and luck.
- Pomelo – another lucky fruit because in Chinese, the word sounds like prosperity and status.
- Yuanbao/Jiaozi Chinese dumplings – Eating these dumplings is said to bring prosperity. These cabbage and pork dumplings are likely said to bring prosperity because traditionally, they are shaped in the old ingot-shaped Chinese currency.
- Whole fish served with the head and tail intact is supposed to ensure a good start and finish and to avoid bad luck throughout the year. Another reason a whole fish is considered a lucky food for Chinese New Year is because the Chinese word for fish sounds like the English word “abundance”. Though my dad and his friends are avid fishermen, we didn’t have a whole fish to serve for Chinese New Year, but my friend (Pebblewood Farm) made an awesome cake shaped like a fish for the event!
- If you serve sweets during Chinese New Year, apparently this will bring you a sweet life in the new year.
- Tray of Togetherness is put out for guests to snack on. There are eight (as in the symbolically lucky number eight) compartments. Items included in the tray’s compartments are all symbolic. For example, longan fruit to bring many sons, coconut for togetherness, red melon seeds for happiness, etc.
One tradition we have every year is for the family to wrap dumplings or wontons together. Little One became a wonton-wrapping pro at a very young age! We’ll be hosting Chinese New Year 2015 on our farm again this year. We were away for the beginning of Chinese New Year, so we’ll be celebrating this Saturday!