The Year of the Pig

It’s the Lunar New Year, a time of festivities, celebration, firecrackers, red envelopes, and family gatherings. It’s a tradition spanning thousands of years and observed by a dozen countries, including China, Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and others. Also referred to as the Spring Festival and Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year comes with optimism, hope, a sense of new beginning, and general good feelings. Over the centuries, the Chinese zodiac was integrated into everyday life and subsequently played an integral part in the culture by determining your fortune for the year, marriage compatibility, career decisions, best times to have a baby, and so on. There are twelve animal signs, so there are twelve-year cycles. This year is the year of the pig. Even in 2019, there are many people who take these customs and traditions very seriously and will observe all the superstitions and folk tales that have accrued over thousands of years. While personally I do not put much stock in them, I tend to be somewhat appreciative of them in terms of the roles they have in culture and history. There are more things unknown to us than there are things known, but yet people often speak with an aggrandized tone of confidence about things in the gray. Sure, there are some things that are generally accepted and we have come to not doubt them. However, as Dogen says, “But even though you do not have doubts about them, that is not to say you know them.” The traditions and superstitions associated with the Lunar New Year have survived all these centuries for a reason. While we don’t have to accept them wholesale, we shouldn’t entirely dismiss them either. So Happy Chinese New Year to everyone, regardless if you celebrate. May everyone experience prosperity, good health, and an abundance of joy throughout this year and beyond.