The Chinese New Year began Sunday and since one-fifth of the world population lives by the lunar calendar, perhaps we Westerners should pay attention. Surely a few billion people can't all be wrong. Thus we have now begun the Year of the Pig. Now that may silly to most of us but since observance of the Lunar New Year has been around much longer than our culture or civilization, it's time we pay attention.
Unfortunately, the Year of the Pig does not bode well traditionally. Those born under this sign of the zodiac tend to be polite, honest, hardworking and loyal. They are also lucky. But for society, the Year of the Pig can often spell disaster.
Here's how it works. The zodiac runs on a 12-year cycle and each year is associated with the five elements that Chinese mystics feel make up the universe: metal, water, wood, fire and earth. Unfortunately, Pig years are dominated by fire and water which tend to cause troubles. So those who study these things tell us that the year will be dominated by gun battles, murder with guns and bombing attacks. There will also be more disasters involving fire. And epidemics.
By way of confirming these fears, Chinese experts note that the AK-47 rifle, a weapon of choice among insurgents, was invented during the Year of the Pig. On the economic front, the Year of the Pig offers a mixed bag - booming economy, higher interest rates.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was born during a Pig Year. Same with Woody Allen and Elton John. And a certain female Senator from New York too was born during a Pig Year which somehow seems appropriate. Other signs of the zodiac animals include the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey and rooster. I haven't a clue why these particular animals were selected but since the dragon was included, I'm guessing these choices have been around for quite some time.
Chinese experts warn especially to guard your health this year. They note that the prospect of an epidemic is much greater during the Year of the Pig. I assume that means to avoid pork products as well. But I'm just guessing on that one.
I'm not alone in believing that life runs in cycles and that history repeats itself. Why and how these things occur, I frankly don't know. But people who study such things say it is so and I am not one to question these learned experts.
So beware the Year of the Pig. The signs tell us that this year may be rocky and dangerous around the world. And who am I to question thousands of years of Chinese history?
PS: I was born during a Pig Year. Go figure!