I was the Mythology/Religion consultant on game-2, "Wisdom Quest," of this series.  I also wrote "Wisdom Quest's" Companion Guide --  click on the title to go directly to its page: many will enjoy the book even if they don't own the game!
An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies,
Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.


*** Update 14 February 2007:
A very gracious benefactor at JetCityOrange has offered to cover the excess charges to keep this page online during the hiatus-period originally outlined below. So the page will stay up! My warmest thanks to Jerry Whiting.
5 November 2006 / Important Notification About 2007's Lunar New Year:
On Lunar New Year, 29 January 2006, this page got 46,714 visitors.  To put this in context, in 2002 I had 1940 visitors; in 2003 there were 675; in 2004, 953.  In 2005 my stats-collector showed 19,944 but that was such an unbelievable increase that I assumed their computer had mistakenly added an extra digit at the end and that the correct number was 1,994.  There was no way the numbers could have jumped tenfold to nearly 20,000 in the space of 3 years.  Then -- when I checked my 2006 stats and found 46,714 -- I realized that 2005's numbers were probably correct after all.  That meant 2005 had indeed jumped tenfold and 2006 was 23 times more than in 2002!

For a non-profit, educational site, this was an unexpected & very unwelcome shock.  Most of those nearly 47,000 visitors in 2006 were first-time "impulse" surfers who only stayed a few minutes,  moved on, and never returned. But the sudden extra traffic far exceeded my current gigabyte package with my website host & I was left with a large bill. This was in the middle of a very cold winter when I was keeping my house at 52-degrees and still having difficulty paying my heating bills to keep myself and my cats warm.  I cannot afford to risk this again. Thus, this notice is to let everyone know that this page will temporarily disappear from February 17-19, 2007To clarify: February 18, 2007 is the first day of the Year of the Water Pig, which means the page will be gone that day as well as part of the day before and after.  Then it will reappear February 20th.  For regular readers, please plan to visit it before or after this hiatus. I apologize for any inconvenience.  Thank you.

Chinese Fire Pig

18 February 2007-
6 February 2008

YEAR of the Fire Boar/Pig

[FYI:  February 7, 2008 is when the Year of the Earth Rat begins]

Myth*ing Links 2006-2007 Year of the Fire Dog is now at: Lunar Archives: FireDog
Myth*ing Links 2005-2006 Year of the Wood Rooster is now at: Lunar Archives: Wood Rooster
Myth*ing Links 2004-2005 Year of the Wood Monkey is now at: Lunar Archives: Wood Monkey
Myth*ing Links 2003-2004 Year of the Water Goat is now at: Lunar Archives: Water Goat
Myth*ing Links 2002-2003 Year of the Water Horse is now at: Lunar Archives: Water Horse
Myth*ing Links 2001-2002 Year of the Metal Snake page is now at: Lunar Archives: Metal Snake
Myth*ing Links 2000-2001 Year of the Metal Dragon page is now at:Lunar Archives: Metal Dragon

Chinese Pig
© James Tan: permission pending

NOTE: astrological, "predictive" sites are updated annually on my page.  Sites describing traditional beliefs and activities, however -- even though they may mention the date and animal of the year when the page was written -- are dealing with age-old practices and remain accurate regardless of dates.

"Pig" in Chinese Zodiac

Chinese New Year:
General Information
[Note: for specific information on the current year,
please scroll down to the next section.]
[Added 3 January 2004:]  If you'd like to know the dates and animals for any Lunar New Year from 1645 to 2644, this is the site for you.
This excellent page includes a fascinating Arts & Crafts section for children -- also Resources: if you click on the link, you'll find essays plus many family and classroom-oriented, annotated links to dragons and/or serpents, festive lore, customs, food, photos, Asian astrology, and much more.  This page provides an exceptionally wide range of annotated links to history, lore, lanterns, food, dance, dragon costumes, art, games, cards to send, and much more.  For a good essay on Chinese New Year, including tradional symbolism and do's and don'ts, click here: http://www.asianfamily.com/holidays/chinese_new_year.htm:
[Added 20 January 2004:] From Australia's Father Time's Net comes a page of customs for Chinese New Year:
...Chinese people believe that evil spirits dislike loud noises so they decorate their houses with plastic firecrackers. The loud noises are intended to frighten away evil spirits and bad luck that the spirits might bring.

They also go to the markets to buy plants and flowers that will bring them good luck for the New Year. The Kumquat tree is considered to be the luckiest because its name is a play on the word lucky.

The peach blossom is also considered to be lucky and the markets are decorated with the delicate blossoms wrapped in tissue paper that stops them getting damaged....

Don't miss this page from Jun Shan, the Chinese Culture guide at about.com, who tells an ancient tale of a fierce monster named Nian and a wise old man who saved his people from Nian.  Regardless of what animal rules an individual year, this story still lies at the root of Chinese New Year.  (Note: this tale is mentioned briefly on other sites but this is the only place where I found the full story.) [12/28/01: addendum -- since I have been having trouble accessing this page lately, and since about.com has recently been recklessly slashing their excellent guides' sites, I'm going to rescue this psychologically astute story lest it vanish:]
The legend says, long ago, there was a monster called Nian. It was born to be very ugly and ferocious, which looked like either dragons or unicorns. On the first and the 15th of each lunar month, the monster would come down from the mountains to hunt people. So people were very much afraid of it and locked their doors early before sunset on the days of its coming.

There lived an old wise man in a village. He thought it was the panic in people that made the monster so bold and furious. Thus the old man asked people to organize together and to conquer the monster by means of beating drums and gongs, burning bamboo, and lighting fireworks in purpose of making large noises to threaten the hateful monster. When he told people about the idea, everybody agreed on it.

At a moonless and freezing cold night, the monster, Nian, appeared again. The moment it opened its mouth at people, burst out the frightening noises and fire made by people, and wherever the monster went, it was forced to back off by the terrible noises. The monster couldn't stop running until he fell down with exhaustion. Then people jumped up and killed the evil monster. Savage as the monster was, he lost in the end under the efforts from the cooperation of people.

Since then, people have kept the tradition by beating drums and gongs, and lighting fireworks at the coldest day in winter to drive the imagined monsters away and to celebrate the victory over it. Today, Nian refers to the New Year's day or the Spring Festival. People often say Guo Nian, which means 'live the festival.' Furthermore, Nian also means the year. For an example, the Chinese often greet each other by saying Xin Nian Hao, which means Happy New Year! Xin means new and Hao means good.

Again from Jun Shan comes a charming page on each household's "Kitchen God" (a kind of cosmic spy), whose feast falls a week before Chinese New Year.  On this day the deity returns to heaven to make a report on the family's good or ill deeds over the preceding year.  Read the page to find out how the family makes sure the report is in their favor.  It gives a whole new meaning to the concept of "sacrifice."  [12/28/01: addendum -- again, I'm going to rescue the passage lest it too vanish:]
Traditionally the Spring Festival actually begins its course a week before the Chinese New Year (the 23th of the last month from Chinese lunar calendar), with the practice of offering a sacrifice to the Kitchen God, a god sent from Heaven to each family to take charge of family's affairs and make a report on what the family has done in the past year to Heaven annually on the date of the 23th. Strangely enough, the sacrifice to the Kitchen God is a lotus root-like sticky cake made of a kind of confection, a typical Chinese traditional candy, instead of the usual cows, pigs or sheep. The purpose of the practice is compromising, for people are making full use of the sticky cake to prevent the Kitchen God from speaking ill of the family in Heaven by sticking his mouth. Of course, it seems to be quite a tacit agreement between the Kitchen God and his prayers; he is always accepting the sweet food from the people around. This tradition is no longer popular in cities now, but may still be observed in some areas of countryside.
Note:  both this page and the one directly above are two among many interesting links on Jun Shan's index for Chinese New Year's found at: http://chineseculture.about.com/culture/chineseculture/library/weekly/topicsub1.htm
http://insidechina.com/culture/festival/newyear/peach.php3:[dead link]
[1/12/03: unfortunately, the above link now goes to a news service with access to topics by subscription only -- thus, I can't even check to see if this is still in their archives.  Regardless, I'm keeping the annotation.  1/22/05: Good news! -- the Web Archive, or "Wayback Machine," has stored this page -- you'll need to be patient because these archival pages can take time to load, but at least it still exists]:
This is "Peach Wood Charms and Evil Spirits, a reference to small red papers adorning Chinese doors at Lunar New Year.  The red papers replace charms originally carved or painted on peach wood:
...According to legend, two brothers, Shennai and Yulei, lived on a beautiful mountain and grew a large grove of peach trees. They often helped the poor fight against monsters and demons. After their death, the two brothers became gods in heaven and were ordered by the Supreme Deity of Heaven to punish the evil spirits. The story says the spirits were so scared of the two brothers that even the mere sight of the peach trees they had planted would be enough to scare the spirits away, hence the peach wood charms....
http://insidechina.com/culture/festival/newyear/festiv.php3:[dead link]
[1/12/03: this also goes to a news service with access to topics by subscription only.   I'm still keeping the annotation.
1/22/05: More good news! -- here too, the Web Archive has saved this page -- you'll need to be patient as these archival pages can take time to load, but at least it still exists]:
This brief page from Inside China Today looks at the lantern festival held in China on the 15th day of the first lunar month:
...In ancient China, new year celebrations started from New Year's Eve and reached a second climax during the Lantern Festival....
The page looks at the charming legend of the Lantern Festival -- it involves  firecrackers, a city full of red lanterns, and a dumpling-making heroine who is a palace maid.  [22 January 2005 --although the Web Archive still has this page, load times tend to be long and it's probably prudent to rescue the legend, just in case]:
...During the reign of Emperor Wu Di of the Han Dynasty, there was a palace maid named Yuanxiao. Yuanxiao was a clever and kind-hearted girl, but she was very sad and homesick as she was locked up in the palace all year round.  Luckily she found a friend in a minister called Dongfang Shuo. He told the emperor a clever story and helped Yuanxiao see her family again.

Shuo told the emperor the Supreme Deity of Heaven had ordered the God of Fire to set the city of Changan ablaze on the 16th day of the first month of the lunar year. Shuo sad the only way to prevent this from happening was to let off firecrackers and hang up red lanterns all over the city. Shuo said everyone – even the palace maids – would have to participate in the lantern show.  Knowing that the God of Fire loved to watch a good fire show and that he also liked the dumplings made by Yuanxiao, Shuo suggested to the emperor he allow Yuanxiao to present her dumplings to the god. Shuo said the fire god would surely be appeased and therefore save the city of Changan.

The emperor bought the story and ordered the city of Changan to spend that entire night letting off firecrackers and playing with lanterns. Nothing amiss happened that night and Yuanxiao took advantage of her time outside the palace to have a family reunion.  Emperor Wu Di had such a good time that the next year he again ordered that red lanterns be hung all over the city on that same day and the little palace maid made her dumplings again too.
Thus the 15th day of the first lunar month of the year became a festival. The Lantern Festival is also called the Yuanxiao Festival, named after the famous dumplings. On this night, people celebrate under the first full moon of the year, which is symbolic of family reunions and a full happy life.
Note: 31 January 2007: just in case, here's an alternate link, minus the opening sentence in the original:
This is a small and select collection of annotated Chinese New Year links from the Open Directory.  This is a great place to browse if you're looking for more in-depth explanations of Asian beliefs, calendars, astrology, and lore.
From China the Beautiful comes a page of lovely graphics which are traditionally hung throughout the house for Chinese New Year's.  The best are from Yanliuqing, which were first produced between 1573 and 1620. There are 3 linked pages here.

Note: China the Beautiful has a wide selection of exceptionally well-done pages focusing on Chinese art, literature, culture, and history.  For a listing, go here: http://www.chinapage.com/china-rm.html

[Added 20 January 2004:] Again from China the Beautiful comes this page of assorted facts and annotated links for Chinese New Year.

"Pig" in Chinese Zodiac

Chinese New Year:
Specific Information on Current Year

"Children of the Chinese Zodiac" Series: Pig/Boar
© 2006 Caroline R. Young:  all rights reserved.

[Updated for 2007]:  This is a page chockfull of odd bits of information about each Chinese Lunar New Year, Chinese astrology ("fortune-telling"), and much more.  The site looks at the fortune-telling aspect of the year in conjunction with wood, metal, fire, earth, and water elements in an individual's astrology chart -- there is enough information here to let you see how immensely complex it really is.  You would need to have your own chart cast according to Chinese rules to make sense of it but the site does offer a page in which you can at least insert your birth data to get an entry-level chart that will help clarify your own personal "luck."
[Updated for 2007]: Master Raymond Lo's website is comprehensive and covers a wide range of issues.   In addition to wars and other international affairs, he includes natural and manmade disasters, health, economy, investments, and Feng Shui. The outlook is somewhat dismal, despite some areas of hope:
The Year of the Pig, 2007, in the Hsia calendar, is symbolized by two elements – with fire sitting on top of water. According to the cycle of birth and destruction, which governs the inter-relationship between the elements, fire will be conquered by water. Therefore, fire sitting on water is a symbol of conflict and skirmish and this may bring a relatively less peaceful year with more international conflicts and struggles.

In recent years, the last time such fire and water elements appeared was in 2002 in the year of the water horse, which was the year immediately after 911 and terrorist attacks became a global threat . The fire standing on top in 2007 is yin fire which is compared to the candle flame. Whilst the yang fire in 2006 symbolizes the sun and represents openness, optimism, warmth, politeness and care, the Yin fire in 2007 symbolizes tension, temperamental emotions, agitations, and illusions. The Yin fire is candle flame, and a spark of fire. There is a common Chinese saying that “A spark of fire can burn down the whole plain”. As such, yin fire can be more damaging and destructive than yang fire. It is anticipated that there will be more international conflicts and disharmony which will even lead to regional warfare, uprising and unrest, or over throwing of the government in certain countries.

The Chinese calendar year goes on 60-year cycle. This means that we have experienced the same year of yin fire on pig in 1947. This was a year when the Second World War is over and the Cold war between USSR and USA began. In 1947 the U.S. President Truman declared his famous doctrine to stem the spread of communism. And the USSR rejected the US plan for UN atomic energy control. So the race to produce nuclear weapon began. In the same year India and Pakistan became independent from British rule and then engaged into a bloody war.

The Chinese character for “Yin fire” is like the shape of the alphabet “T”. One can remember the “T” shape as the mushroom cloud which appears during a nuclear explosion. Indeed, the Yin fire can bring fire disasters and big explosions. In recent history we have found quite disastrous explosions happened on a Yin fire day. The obvious examples are 6th August, 1945, the day when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and 11th September, 2001, the famous 911 terrorist attack on USA. Both these days are Yin fire. The Yin fire symbolizes fire arms, and the deadly weapon AK-47 assault rifle was actually designed in 1947. Exactly 60 years ago, same year of Yin fire on the pig.

So it will not be surprising that there will more gun battles, murder with guns, bombing attacks in the year 2007.

The Pig belongs to water element, however, it represents the beginning of winter and is the birth month of wood. As such, the pig symbolizes the germination of a plants, a new life is born. As such, the pig year can bring a new beginning of international relationships and social order, this could bring new regimes with new government in some countries. The pig is also considered as a “Traveling star”. So years of the pig will stimulate more traveling and this will very much benefit tourist industry. However, the Pig is in clash relationship against the snake. This is a clash between water and fire elements and will often bring accidents related to both air and the sea. The snake can also symbolize the train. So traffic accidents related to train, shipping, and airplanes could be more serious in this year....

...In general, the yin fire Pig year, with fire on top conquered by water below, is symbol of more disharmony and struggle before the birth of a new world order. There will be more international conflicts and uprisings and unrest but such events may bring positive changes leading to longer term benefit for the future of humanity and global well-being....

This essay is lengthy but worth reading.  Even if he's wrong about the specifics, it can't hurt to be extra cautious about his findings on problem areas.
[Updated for 2007]:From AstroLog, an Australian site, comes a brief but well done page by Gayle Atherton on "What to Expect in the Year of the Fire Pig."  The page covers some of the same data that Master Lo explores (above) on disasters.  If you don't have time to read Master Lo's lengthy essay, this site will give you a quick overview:
The fat, happy Pig is the 'laughing Buddha' of the Chinese Zodiac signs; naturally pleased, whatever he does. He likes his creature comforts; is sensual in all endeavours. Tolerant, compassionate, generous, - he has difficulty controlling his passions but hides neither faults, mistakes, nor his self-indulgence. Egocentric, chaotic, destructive at times, one of Pig's essential drives is his love for freedom and beauty. The eternal optimist, his attitude is, "Don't worry, be happy".

What to Expect in the Year of the Fire Pig:

The Chinese Fire Pig symbol (Fire over Water) contains a special character that forms an accelerant. The year has potential for situations to gather speed; to burn out of control. In Chinese astrology, clashes of Fire & Water have powerful, uncontrollable effects, while transformation takes place. Situations flare up quickly and propel out of control.

The Water element denotes clandestine affairs, 'behind the scenes', danger. It can indicate physical floods & large scale water problems - potential for extensive damage and destruction.

Fire Pig has harmonious elements, but harmony is lost when situations are out of control. Fire Pig years have been fraught with incidents: wars, political takeovers, enormous unrest.

The page also discusses the impact of the Fire Pig year upon your own personal Chinese sign (these tend to be much more hopeful). In addition, it offers links to Feng Shui in 2007, zodiac forecasts, and much more.
[Updated for 2007]:  These are excerpts from Shelly Wu's Chinese Astrology site.
The 12th and final sign of the Eastern zodiac begins on Feb. 18, 2007. 2006's "furnace" of Yang Fire (Bing) now dims and the Fire element becomes the flickering "candlelight" Yin Fire (Ding) in 2007's Fire Pig year. While the Fire element will still be present, the hidden element in the Pig branch is Water, so in 2007 we have the picture of Fire over Water. It will be the 24th year in the current 60 year cycle.

As this past year of the Dog built structure and a symbolic "home" it is now time for the Pig to "furnish" said castle making it a comfortable, cozy place of safety and security. Occupying the life palace of home & family life with the Dog, the Pig proceeds to complete what the Dog has laid foundations for. Finishing touches, tying up loose ends, last stands, curtain calls and closures will be the urging of the year. So, prepare to finish projects, complete goals and even say some goodbyes. Put your ducks in a row, cross your T's and dot your I's in 2007 and the proper Pig will be gracious to you.

Pig years are known for their respite from strife, patience and passivity, but also for indulgence, sensuality and fleshly delights. As the last sign of the zodiac, the Pig represents "resignation" accepting human nature as it is - content to live and let live. The greatest risk will be naiveté, so by all means avoid confidence schemes and being fooled or duped throughout 2007.

Watch for lost or stolen items and keep all business dealings scrupulously honest and above board. Self-promotion gains little in 2007 as the Pig is not interested in pushing ahead at the cost of another. Sales and marketing ventures advance only if they are sincere and completely legitimate.

All things that occur this year can be looked on as closing or final conclusions in some way. An auspicious year to complete projects, bring projects to fruition or arrive safely after completing a long life journey....

...Pace yourself during this Fire year to avoid burnout and try not to keep such a hurried pace. Add the Earth element to your life and home to sooth frazzled nerves, slow down and facilitate relaxation. Gardening, working with clay or pottery, sharing time with your animals and all manner of worship/church/temple or meditative practices will increase the Earth element in your life.

Finally, Wu offers a number of lists relating to various issues in 2007.  She also includes a month by month evaluation of each zodiac sign's good fortune, using 4 stars for "Excellent (Very auspicious, a wide and smooth path)" down to one star for "Difficult (Be cautious, astral clash to the month)."
Since Wu's work is engaging and excellent, this is a good place to browse for information on Chinese astrology and related matters.  You can even get your Chinese year-animal and basic element by following one of her links (as indicated above however, for a thorough reading much more is needed than just those two ingredients).

"Pig" in Chinese Zodiac
Chinese New Year:
People Born in a Pig Year

[Updated for 2007]:  This is a site focusing on personalities determined by the Chinese zodiac.  Each zodiac sign is given its own page (with a search engine at the top for other signs).  About the Pig, here is what this site says:
The Pigs of Chinese Astrology are famous for their diplomacy and sweet  nature. Pigs are simply possessed of a truly luxurious nature, one that delights in finery and riches. Socially, this Sign believes in the best qualities of mankind and certainly doesn't consider itself to be superior.

Pigs also care a great deal about friends and family and work hard to keep everyone in their life happy. Helping others is a true pleasure for the Pig, who feels best when everyone else is smiling. Pigs are so magnanimous they can appear almost saintly; this can lead some less than-well- intentioned souls to stomp all over this Sign, and the bad news is, the Pig will take the blows! Pigs make great companions in part because of their refusal to see the more negative or base qualities in a partner, but that rose-colored view can lead to this Sign's allowing itself to be taken advantage of.

However, Pigs can be quite venomous in response to being crossed by a lover, friend or business partner.

Pigs are highly intelligent creatures, forever studying, playing and probing in their quest for greater knowledge. They can be misinterpreted as being lazy, however, due to their love of reveling in the good stuff;

Domestically, Pigs tend to make wonderful life partners due to their hearts of gold and their love of family. Even so, Pigs can be rather exclusive, choosing to spend time with those who will appreciate them most and ignore the rest of the populace.
Pigs would do well to realize that there's more to life than being needed. When they open up their world to a diverse group of people, they will truly bloom.
[Updated for 2007]:  From the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco comes an excellent, nicely illustrated page covering all twelve of the Chinese zodiac signs.  Here is what it says for Pig:
Year of the Pig: 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007

People born in the Year of the Pig are chivalrous and gallant. Whatever they do, they do with all their strength. For Boar Year people, there is no left or right and there is no retreat. They have tremendous fortitude and great honesty. They don’t make many friends but they make them for life, and anyone having a Boar Year friend is fortunate for they are extremely loyal. They don’t talk much but have a great thirst for knowledge. They study a great deal and are generally well informed. Boar people are quick tempered, yet they hate arguments and quarreling. They are kind to their loved ones. No matter how bad problems seem to be, Boar people try to work them out, honestly if sometimes impulsively. They are most compatible with Rabbits and Sheep.

Note: this site doesn't go into larger predictive material for lunar years: focus is on traits applicable to individuals born in these years.
[Updated for 2007]:   On this beautiful page, here again the focus is on the personalities of those born in each of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs. In addition to a survey of characteristics of each sign, there is also a jade animal representing each sign -- these come from a 1,000  year old Song Dynasty jade artifact collection of the 12 Zodiac Animals. The photos of these jade pieces are large and detailed -- many are really quite lovely.  [Note: for those interested in jade, click on "Chronological History" and you'll find a treasure trove of beautifully illustrated pages (including maps) of jade art from Chinese dynasties from Neolithic times through the Qing Dynasty.]

Here is what this page has to say about people born in the Pig Year:

BOAR People are self-reliant, very sociable, dependable, and extremely determined. BOAR People are peace lovers and don't hold grudges. They hate arguments, tense situations, and try to bring both sides together. In life they make deep and long-lasting friendships. BOAR People enjoy social gatherings of all kinds, and look for parties to attend. In fact, BOAR People must watch themselves so that their incessant pursuit of pleasure doesn't interfere with other aspects of their lives. BOAR People belong to clubs and they make terrific fundraisers. They have a real knack for charity and social work. BOAR People always listen to problems. They won't mind getting involved and try to help. BOAR People have big hearts. A problem that BOAR People have is that they are too innocent and naive. Being honest and trustworthy themselves, they have a hard time understanding the motives of those with fewer scruples. BOAR People do not dazzle or shimmer. They possess the old-fashioned chivalry that grows on you until you totally depend on it. It is so easy to trust BOAR People. They have a calm expression and a sincere manner. They are blessed with endurance and work steadily at tasks with great patience until completion.
[Updated for 2007]:  This is my final page of Chinese zodiac signs.  I only checked Dog and Boar/Pig so far and found interesting and astute psychological portraits each time -- hopefully, all the other signs are as well done.  Note: you can further click for the animal's relevant element -- e.g., fire dog, earth dog, metal dog, etc.

On 2006's Dog people, this is the best page I've read so far, both in terms of style and content.  The page is so good I wouldn't know what to excerpt -- so I hope you'll read it for yourself <smile>.

On 2007's Pig people, again, this is the best, full of paradox and insight. Here is how it concludes:

...The first phase of the Boar's life will be relatively calm. During the second, every conceivable conjugal problem will be visited upon him. But whatever his troubles, the Boar, discreet and shy, will never ask anybody else for help; he'll try to get out of the mess by himself. His reticence in this respect may do him harm, for nobody will even suspect the torment he's going through.
[Added 1/17/11]:  This is "Pig, Sow, & Boar" -- a fine site on mythic elements connected with this sign.

"Pig" in Chinese Zodiac
 Japanese New Year
                   [12 January 2003: link updated]
This page has annotated links to Japan's New Year celebration: there are fewer links here because many Japanese celebrate the New Year from January 1-3 instead of using the more traditional lunar calendar [see below].  Nevertheless, though few, the links are well chosen, especially those for children on special New Year's toys and games.  This is an accompanying essay on Japanese New Year: http://www.familyculture.com/holidays/japanese_new_year.htm:
...Japan has adopted the solar calendar since 1873 and the New Year celebration starts on January 1.   However, in rural Japan, villagers continue to follow the lunar calendar and Oshogatsu is the Lunar New Year....
[Added 20 January 2004:] From Father Time's Net in Australia comes an informative little site on Japanese New Year, which is celebrated starting January first, but the celebrations include older Shinto aspects from Lunar New Year.
http://www.gidra.net/issues/99_spring/new_year.html: [dead link]
[Updated 22 January 2005: this page has now died but still exists at the Wayback Machine/Web Archive -- please be patient as it loads]:
This is an engaging little essay by Japanese American, Dean Toji, on many pan-Asian New Year celebrations falling from November to mid-April.
Although New Year's is now generally celebrated January 1-3 in Japan, many of the customs connected with this celebration have simply been shifted from the much older lunar New Year.  Thus, I am including this link on this page as well as on my Solstice/Yuletide page.  This enjoyable site looks at Japanese New Year's customs and offers a wide range of clickable photos depicting decorations, symbols, foods, and much more.

"Pig" in Chinese Zodiac
Korean New Year
[Added 4-5 January 2004:] This is an engaging, charmingly written page on Korean customs and rituals (quite detailed) at the New Year.  It's also beautifully illustrated.  Here's a passage on New Year's Eve that I especially love:
Before going into the "New Year's day," let's see what happens on New Year's eve:
"Sut dal kum mum" is New Year's eve in Korean and on that night nobody is supposed to sleep. It's the so called "je yah". There was a belief that if someone slept on that night, the eyebrows would turn white. That was the reason why the light was on at every room, the "maru" and even in the kitchen. This was done to receive the brand new year's day with awaken eyes and brightness. During the New Year's eve day people perform an overall cleaning, brushing off old dust. At the evening they heat water and take a bath. They also burn bamboo sticks to cast off every single house demon. They thought that with the sound of the exploding bamboo's knots, the demons would get scared and run away. At night, as a sign of appreciation, people greet the family's elders and if there is a "sadang" at home they present an offering there. It's the ceremony of the last day of the year....
     [12 January 2003: link updated]
I only had time to check the first two annotated links here but found the first one (Click Asia) informative and beautifully illustrated, and the second one (Korean Insights) a great resource for children, especially the delightfully illustrated folk tales. [Note: as of 1/22/05, some of the links have died -- if you are especially attracted to one, you might try the Web Archive.]  There are also links to more academically oriented data.  For a brief essay on Korean New Year, click here: http://www.asianfamily.com/holidays/korean_new_year.htm
[Added 4-5 January 2004:]  From Father Time's Net comes a brief page on Korean traditions:
The first day of the lunar new year is called Sol-nal. This is for families to renew ties and prepare for the new year.  New Year's Eve: People place straw scoopers, rakes or sieves on their doors and walls to protect their families from evil spirits in the new year....
[Added 4-5 January 2004:]  From a world travel site comes an informative page on Korean customs at the New Year. It includes links for those wishing to travel to Korea for this celebration.
        [1/18/06: original link has died but the Wayback Machine still has it in their Web Archive]
[Added 20 January 2004:]  This gentle little page (with good photos) looks at Korean New Year's customs from the perspective of adopted Korean children living in the United States.
Some Korean children living in Middle Tennessee as the adopted children of American families had the opportunity to learn about the holiday's customs Saturday at a Korean New Year's Party put on by the Murfreesboro Korean School.  Traditional Korean food, crafts, clothing and music were a part of the event, said Jan King, the mother of two adopted Korean children and founder of the school.

"It's not all dragon parades and fireworks," said King, referring to popular images of the celebration. "It's a much simpler, family event. The Korean New Year's is mainly a way of showing your respect for your parents and your elders and predecessors, and hoping to start your New Year off right"....

...The adoption of Korean children by American parents started during the Korean War and has continued throughout the 50 years since that time. When some of the older adoptees reached adulthood, they were able to communicate the problems they faced as Asian children raised by mainly Caucasian Americans.  When the adoptions began, King said, "Parents were advised to take them home and treat them like their own children. They suffered a lot, because society felt they were Asian, and they felt they were American, and so they had identity crises.  "They felt they were white, but were not always accepted as white by the general public. Over the years, it was found that one of the best things we can do for them is teach them about their heritage."

As a way to do this, adoptive parents began starting Korean schools in their communities where Korean-American children can learn about the culture, language and traditions of their ancestors.  "This way, they kind of get to have a dual heritage," King said.

"Pig" in Chinese Zodiac

Taiwanese New Year


[Added 20 January 2004:] From Father Time's Net comes an entry-level page on Taiwanese traditions:
...To insure the arrival of luck and wealth in the new year, several taboos must be heeded. Floors may not be swept and garbage may not be disposed for fear of casting riches out the door, cussing and quarreling is to be avoided at all costs, and anyone who breaks a dish on this day must quickly say Peace for all time, to avoid incurring misfortune....

"Pig" in Chinese Zodiac

Tibetan New Year

Tibetan New Year
A few days ago Dharma Publishing sent customers an e-mail of special bargains for Tibetan New Year (beginning 24 February 2001 and lasting for a week).  They included great data on traditions connected with this celebration.  I checked their website to see if they had a page on this.  They did not.  I wrote to see if they planned to launch one and, if not, could I?  They gave me their gracious permission to reprint their e-mailed material.  I created a special page for this -- the above link will take you there.  Enjoy!  <smile>[12/28/01: note -- I've e-mailed for an update on the Horse Year since this page currently only considers the Snake Year: no response.]
[Added 20 January 2004:]   From Father Time's Net in Australia comes an entry-level site on Tibetan New Year, or Losar.
[Added 22 January 2005:]  This page on Losar (New Year) comes from the Venerable Salden of Namgyal Monastery -- the personal monastery of the Dalai Lama.  I found especially intriguing the role of Belma, an old woman who understood lunar time and gave this knowledge to others:
...The word Losar is a Tibetan word for New Year. LO means year and SAR means new. The celebration of Losar can be traced back to the pre-Buddhist period in Tibet. During the period when Tibetans practiced the Bon religion, every winter a spiritual ceremony was held, in which people offered large quantities of incense to appease the local spirits, deities and protectors.... The [Buddhist] festival is said to have begun when an old woman named Belma introduced the measurement of time based on the phases of the moon. This festival took place during the flowering of the apricot trees of the Lhokha Yarla Shampo region in autumn, and it may have been the first celebration of what has become the traditional farmers' festival. It was during this period that the arts of cultivation, irrigation, refining iron from ore and building bridges were first introduced in Tibet. The ceremonies which were instituted to celebrate these new capabilities can be recognized as precursors of the Losar festival. Later when the rudiments of the science of astrology, based on the five elements, were introduced in Tibet, this farmer's festival became what we now call the Losar or New Year's festival....
The page continues with a number of interesting traditions connected with this day, including the role of the Dalai Lama, where again the feminine plays a significant role, this time as a goddess:
... In the early dawn of this day, the monks of Namgyal Monastery offer a sacrificial cake (Tse- tor) on top of the main temple (Potala in Tibet) to the supreme hierarchy of Dharma protectors, the glorious goddess Palden Lhamo. Led by the Dalai Lama, the abbots of three great monasteries, lamas, reincarnated monks, government officials and dignitaries join the ceremony and offer their contemplative prayers, while the monks of Namgyal Monastery recite the invocation of Palden Lhamo....

... In Tibet before the Chinese came, Losar had been celebrated for fifteen days or more. In India today we celebrate for three days, and in America we have minimized it to one day....

[Added 22 January 2005:]  This page looks at New Year traditions in nearby Ladakh -- scroll past about 1/3rd of the page until you get to a section called "Losar: How Ladakh got its new year":
This New Year festival has an interesting history. In the 17th century, King Jamyang Namgyal decided to lead an expedition against the Balti forces during winter. He was advised that any expedition before the New Year would be inauspicious. Like Alexander's solution to the Gordion Knot, his solution was direct and simple. He advanced the New Year celebrations by two months, establishing a tradition that people still follow- celebrating Losar on the first day of the eleventh month of every year....
The page doesn't explain why the populace didn't simply revert to their usual date the following year but it does offer information on rich customs associated with the festival.
[Added 22 January 2005:]This is a huge mega-site on Tibetan New Year with dozens, maybe hundreds, of links.  The links aren't annotated but they do include the first line or two so that you can get some idea of their content.   Many are from tour organizations with good (albeit brief) data and photos.
Vietnamese Tet

31 January 2007
Author's Note:

FYI:  I lived in Hue with my father on Le Loi Street from March to June 1961. I taught English to eager, wonderful Vietnamese students at USIS (United States Information Service). My father taught histology and other medical courses at the University of Hue (I typed out the course-notes for his classes).

I cannot "grok" these links about Tet and Hue without remembering my friends and students, many of whom died in the Tet Offensive. I cannot remember without crying. Part of me will always be there.

    [1/18/06: site seems to be having technical problems. Hopefully, it will soon be available. I  emailed for an update but have had no reply.]
This is a beautifully written and exquisite page on Vietnamese Tet.  It's available in both French and English. [31 January 2007: this link is dead. Other links are below but as of this date there is no link related to the current New Year.]
[Added 31 January 2007:]From the above site, this is the compassionate Legend of Tet:
The myth of Táo Quân is based on the tragic story of a woodcutter and his wife. This modest couple lived happily until discovering they could not have children, the unfortunate husband began drinking and ill-treating his wife. The latter not being able to put up with it any longer left him and married a hunter in a village nearby. But one day, fooled of solitude and full of remorse, the  woodcutter decided to pay a visit to his wife to present his excuses.

At that moment, the hunter came home. In order to avoid misunder-standing, the young woman hid her first husband in a cowshed covered by a hatch roof, located next to the kitchen where the hunter was smoking his game. By misfortune, a spark burst out from the hearth and the cowshed caught fire. In panic, the young woman threw herself in the cowshed to save her ex-husband. The hunter followed her to give help and all three perished in the fire. The Emperor of Jade, from the height of his celestial throne, deeply touched by this sad fate, deified these unfortunate three and put them in charge of looking after the well-being of people at the vantage point of the kitchen.

Therefore they are from then on the gods of the Hearth.

Here is the home page of this site:
[Added 20 January 2004:] From Australia's Father Time's Net comes this interesting little page on Tet:
The more popular name for the Vietnamese New Year is Tet, whereas the formal name is Nguyen-dan.  Tet is a very inportant festival because it provides one of the few breaks in the agricultural year, as it falls between the harvesting of the crops and the sowing of the new crops....
I especially like gradually changing animals into dragons, with the carp-stage coming just before the crowning event:
...They observe the custom of the kitchen god tao for a week before the New Year, they believe there are three gods represented by the three legs of the cooking equipment used in the kitchen. The middle god is a woman the other two are her husbands. It was once customary to provide the gods with a carp on which to travel. The carp represents the second last stage in the process by which animals are gradually transformed into dragons. They buy the carp from the market, bring it home and place it in a bucket of water to place at the altar of the house before it is later set free....
This an extensive collection of annotated links to the Vietnamese Tet celebration -- the links include folklore, customs, the Vietnamese zodiac, food, art, and college term papers with many well researched details (and bibliographies).  Of those I checked, the quality was first rate.  This is an accompanying essay on Tet: http://www.familyculture.com/holidays/tet.htm
[Added 31January 2007:]This is a general site on Vietnam with many links to all aspects of this lovely country.

"Pig" in Chinese Zodiac
Pan-Asian Lunar New Year
[Added 20 January 2004:] This is "New Year Around the World," a cross-cultural collection of pages from Australia's Father Time's Net.  Listed alphabetically by country, all New Year celebrations are featured here, including Lunar New Year.


Pigs in History, Religion, Culture, & Art:
[This is one of my new January 2007 pages with general information
but also great material on ancient China's pigs and pig-dragons.]

To the 2006-2007 Yang Fire Dog page

To the 2005-2006 Wood Rooster page

To the 2004-2005 Wood Monkey page

To the 2003-2004 Water Goat page

To the 2002-2003 Water Horse page

To the 2001-2002 Year of the Metal Snake page

To the 2000-2001 Year of the Metal Dragon page

To the ASIA menu-page

To Common Themes: Time
(Calendars, Millennial Issues, etc)

To Common Themes: Star Lore & Astrology

To Current Winter Greetings & Lore page

To the Imbolc page

To the Annual Springtide Greetings page

My complete Table of Contents
& e-mail address are on my Home Page.

© 2000-2008 Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.

These Lunar New Year pages were begun 17 January 2000 for Dragon Year:
for subsequent logs, see individual archives.


Chinese Boar/Pig Logo

5 November 2006: added notification about 2007 hiatus over Lunar New Year.
11 December 2006: updated WD links at top.

Pig Year: 25-31 January 2007: updated all the specific year-data sites;
also updated broken links with the help of my Links-Elf, Michaela.
Launched in the wee hours of 1/31/07.
14 February 2007: announced reprieve for the page -- no hiatus after all from 2/17-19/07!
18 December 2007: archived this page a little early this year.
17 January 2011: added a Khandro site on myths -- will expand this when the Boar/Sow/Pig come around again.

"Pig" in Chinese Zodiac


Additional Art Sources:
A good, searchable source of Chinese art on various themes.