The Year of the Goat
January 31, 2003 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Let the celebrations begin! According to the Chinese calendar, tomorrow begins the year 4700. The festivals and superstitions surround the celebration for the new year are fascinating in China as well as Korea. Which animal year were you born in and do you follow the Chinese, Japanese, or Korean zodiac? Finally, the mathematics behind the calendar are truly fascinating.
posted by Plunge (15 comments total)
Being a "goat" myself, it's MY YEAR! :-)

Of course, being married to a "dragon" can make life interesting.
posted by Plunge at 9:13 AM on January 31, 2003

Great post! The math link raises it from the workmanlike to the sublime. I'll never understand the subtleties discussed in the article, but I'm glad they're there! (I'm a hare myself.)
posted by languagehat at 9:18 AM on January 31, 2003

I've spent a few hours over past several days on the mathematics website, the information there is amazing. I just wish my math skills were on par to the papers presented there so I could have a greater understanding of it.

For those interested in the math of this, you might also find this area on math in art and architecture worthy of your perusal.
posted by Plunge at 9:34 AM on January 31, 2003

I'm a Goat (er.. Ram) also. This site has some good astrology stuff including sign compatibility (scary how accurate it is) and an overview of what to expect in The Year of the Goat
posted by stbalbach at 9:46 AM on January 31, 2003

Hey Plunge, nice liinks and thanks for alerting us to the festivities.
My animal year is that of the hare - fellow posters, take note: the Hare is an excellent judge of character and has a certain ability to recognize when others are lying.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:05 AM on January 31, 2003

I'm such an Ox. I'm married to an Ox. This means that we're both practical, hard-working, loving and stubborn as all get out.

Our son is a Snake who's already focusing in on the money aspect of his nature. He's not even 18 months old yet and "Money" is one of his favorite words. Has been for months.
posted by onhazier at 10:31 AM on January 31, 2003

Tiger here.

"Tiger personalities are sensitive, emotional, and capable of great love, but have a difficult time understanding the meaning of moderation."

That'd be why Kodak commercials make me cry.
posted by tolkhan at 10:33 AM on January 31, 2003

"tomorrow begins the year 4700"

Ah, shit. I haven't installed all my Y4.7K patches yet.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:45 PM on January 31, 2003

I always hate this because I just KNOW I'm going to be writing 'Year of the Horse' on my checks out of habit for the next month.
posted by mathis23 at 12:58 PM on January 31, 2003

Apparently, it's also known as the "year of the black sheep."

Of course, this is from a "Chinese New Year" site made by Scots, so who knows.
posted by me3dia at 1:05 PM on January 31, 2003

Being a "goat" myself, it's MY YEAR! :-)

me too!

Of course, being married to a "dragon" can make life interesting.

My sister's a dragon... hmmm... nothing interesting so far...
posted by gyc at 1:37 PM on January 31, 2003

Horse. Just missed 2002 as a horse year. Only 12 more years until the next. I didn't realize it until today when a co-worker had mentioned that he will be out celebrating the New Year. I don't quite understand the elements and other branches of the zodiac and what to avoid. Any clues?
posted by brent at 7:18 PM on January 31, 2003

My sister and I spent hours poring over the zodiac placemats at our local Chinese restaurant--it's fun to see them in more detail.

I'm a water pig, through and through.
posted by hippugeek at 11:00 PM on January 31, 2003

I was born in the Year of the Wood Dragon and the wood element is associated with green and therefore Jade -- and there you have the brief history of how my nickname of "Jade Dragon" came about...

I am very much a Dragon lady; and have had fortune smile upon me for most of my years. I am very much the entrepreneur and leader, and yes, have had my share of male admirers and followers during my life. I am also a Dragon-Scorpio combination; very strong-willed and potentially argumentative, but I do my best to keep that in check...

I almost always wear a Dragon necklace, in honour of my "heritage" and often think of it as the embodiment of the luck, fortune and success associated with my Chinese horoscope sign. I have different ones I wear for different occasions, such as business meetings, or for travel.

I still host an annual "Feast of the Dragon" about a week after Chinese New Year (this year on Feb. 8th), as a combination celebration for the New Year, my other's half's birthday (he's a Monkey) and a chance for my friends to get together in the midst of Canada's February's chilliness. By then, most have recovered from Xmas bills and are looking forward for a chance to get out and meet friends and celebrate. We all go down to a great little place called "Restaurant Beijing" in Montreal's Chinatown; very non-descript decor but the emphasis is on the food -- very tasty, plentiful and affordable. Over 225 items on the menu, with a leaning towards Schezuan cuisine.

We usually have a huge round table with a giant rotating lazy susan in the middle, to move the platters around more easily. I always bring one of my larger Dragon figurines from my collection to act as gorgeous centerpiece. (The waiters always jokingly pretend to take off with it when they clean off the table, as even they find them beautiful...) I always hand out gifts of "Red Money Envelopes" to everyone, stuffed with special Chinese coins (the round ones with the square holes) and Chinese printed money, with dragons on them of course, for good luck in the coming year.

For more on Chinese culture, traditions and the New Year, you might want to check the following website:

I always look forward to Chinese New Year more than the standard New Year, as I have always found that it was a fresh new start, and that new business opportunities, friendships and such always came my way shortly afterwards... for me, anyways...

Is anybody else going out to celebrate today? I am heading down to Chinatown later on today and enjoy the fun and celebrations while it is in the air!! Gung Hay Fat Choy everyone!
posted by Jade Dragon at 3:16 AM on February 1, 2003

Fascinating. You wouldn't believe how intricate and ancient the lunar calendar is, and how it accounts for solar 'leap' years among other things.

Special noodle soup, family visits, and some bad T.V. is how we celebrate in these parts, but we wish all a prosperous and Happy New Year!

Nice post!
posted by hama7 at 6:03 AM on February 1, 2003

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