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Sara Towe

The Chinese New Year gives me a chance at renewing myself a second time around. This is my year the "Year of the Horse", and I intend to make it the best year ever. For those of you who do not understand the Chinese signs, here is a little outline.

Long ago and still to this day, the Chinese use the Lunar cycle to follow time. The first cycle was introduced in the year 2637 B.C. A complete lunar cycle is 60 years and is made up of 12 cycles. Where the animal signs come in, is when Lord Buddha summoned all the animals to his kingdom so as to say goodbye to him before he departed from this earth. Only twelve showed up and to show his appreciation he named a year after them in order of its arrival. Every twelve years the sign repeats it’s self and you start all over again. Look at the signs year dates baring in mind that Chinese New Year is different every year, mid Jan-mid Feb and find out which is your sign by going through 12 year increments from your birth year.

I have only touched the surface of the information on these signs, but hopefully it will give you a little in site into you and your loved ones.

First came the Rat, (1997) with its charm and innovative personality the rat uses it’s wit and intelligence and has been know to be crafty, forthright and an exhalent business man/woman, who is always alert to new opportunities. The rat is very underestimated, due the very fact that it is a rat. They are very intuitive gregarious and smart people who will use their charm and smarts to get them to the top. Never underestimate them, they do not miss a thing and remember a lot. Whereas the tiger, horse and others are on the forefront, the rat does not mind taking the back stairs to get where they are going.

Then came the Ox, prosperous through fortitude and hard work, the Ox is dependable, calm methodical and stubborn. Many Ox ‘s hold positions of power and their fairness holds them in good stead. They like order, respect, tradition, and are predictable and honest. Alas in love the Ox does not quite now how to respond to romance but when they like you they will stand by you, loyally, but also may take a long time to commit, be patience they are solid people and worth waiting for. Although they have a lot of patience do not try it on to much, because when they loose it, it will be a terrifying experience. The rooster seems to understand the Ox best and the Goat and Tiger will not get along well at all. Give them time to their stuff; it is worth waiting for the results.

Now comes the Tiger. (1998) Powerful, passionate, rebellious and unpredictable. The Tiger is our fearless fighter, and people hold them in awe. They love the limelight and their dynamic personality can open many doors. They live life as if it is their center stage, and people around them are there to enhance the play. With their charisma they get away with lots, and can talk others into doing things for them just because they are tigers. They have a very human side showing love and affection for babies and animals. As a lover when they love they love 100% for that moment till their attention is directed elsewhere, to sustain their attention you must give them a lot of attention. They live purely on impulse and rebellion on tradition. Logic is not their thing. The song by Carle Simon, "your so vain you probably think this song is about you". May have been written for the tiger. However the tiger who can be warm loving and great with kids, can also be a child themselves if they do not get their way. For all this the tiger is a formidable foe and one to definitely have in your court.

The Rabbit (1999) is said to have a long life, the rabbit is gracious kind sensitive, and has good manners. They look for tranquility but are also inclined to be moody. They appear indifferent and generally hold academic positions. Although they appear to be detached they hold much criticism inside. Good at business and smooth negotiations will ensure a good career. In love their self-assurance requires them to marry for position and security, but will give all they have to give in love. Reserved artistic and good at business, the rabbit with their smooth negotiations will ensure any career they choose. Liking harmony, the rabbit does not understand why people are so nasty to each other. Although do not mistake this, the rabbit will get the contract signed, but by courtesy, consideration and patience, you will not even be aware of it until you have signed on the doted line. This does not mean that they are deceitful, but rather that they are clever.

The fiery Dragon (2000) a very lucky sign and one in which many children are born, (including one of my daughters). Magical and imaginative the dragon is full of vitality and strength. They have very high ideals and command high standards from others as well as themselves. Do not challenge the dragon you will find them very opposing and do not hurt the ones they love or anger them or you will sorely regret it. On the other hand they do not like defeat and can be a sore looser. If they like you, you will forever have a protector and a friend, and as a lover they take adulation for granted, knowing that they are well liked so therefore well loved. If they choose you for a mate, (and this sign is also quite happy to not to marry and just have good friends,) they will protect, lecture and support you forever. Dragons do not tolerate fools or deceitful people and their wrath can be very imposing. They are good with money, easy come easy go, and prefer to live in a relaxed environment. Somewhat leaders by nature, they will only want the job if they are interested. Funny and liking a good time, a dragon is good at a party and is very adventuress.

The forever-misunderstood Snake (2001) is a deep thinker, always looking for the meaning of life. Generally mystical with a lot of natural wisdom, the snake loves books, food, music and the fine things in life. Using their own judgment rather than others, they like their own advice. Superstitious, and a little intense they like to settle scores. The snakes wish to control their own lives through power and authority. They can be victims of their past and have a hard time moving on with life. Elegant, in speech, dress and manners, but suspicious in nature, the snake distrusts anyone who breaks a promise. In love their mystique and cool ambivalence draws lovers to them with ease, and will only marry someone who shares their ambition. Striving for the top the snake can talk themselves out of things, because they are inclined to think it over and over again. They love detail and wish for things to be in order before moving on with it. Although looked upon with fear, the snake in vulnerable and is only dangerous when it is fearful. Wishing to just be understood and respected the snake is harmless. Unless----

Enter the Horse (2002) the best year in my mind, as I am a horse myself. Cheerful, popular, quick-witted and earthy. The horse falls in and out of love easily. However they are perceptive, talkative and have an ability to handle difficult situation well and with authority. They are magnetic and commanding which can be presided as militant and aggressive at times although this is not so. Impetuous, energetic, and a flashy dresser. The horse although a non-conformist can be relied on to be accountable and honest. The horse will always be there for the underdog, and has an ability to see both sides and council each of them well. Demanding a great deal from fellow workers they can and will just as eagerly work by your side as long as you know that they are boss. Horses love freedom and pursue happiness at every corner. Being a person that feels their way around and who is constantly changing to the environment, they feel deeply and can be preceived as being moody, they are just adjustable people. They cannot keep regular hours and are best suited to flexible but demanding jobs, it is all or nothing. Very friendly and a true lover, do not let them down, they will forgive but never forget. They are protective about their loved ones and love with all their hearts, they like the home homey and love to run a little wild too. As friends the horses will be by your side through anything, but if you betray them, you will be forgiven but forgotten too.

The graceful Sheep/ Goat (2003) is righteous, sincere and a sucker for sad stories. They are fashionable, artistic and creative but can be depressed and withdrawn. They are homebodies, liking children and needing to be needed. Luck favors them and their peaceful nature draws people to them. Unfortunately the sheep/goat instead of standing up for their rights, is timid and is more inclined to sulk rather than demand. Straight to the point is not their way and they wish you to find out what is bothering them rather than they tell you. Martyrs, and worriers they are pessimistic about life and are inclined to look to the worst rather than the best of things. Romantic by nature, they wished to be pursued and fought for, the sheep needs to be in a respectful loving marriage to survive, secure in life love and mind. They have their favorites and if your not one of them do not take offence, that is just they way it is. Forgiving nor forgetting is something they do easily, so don’t hurt them.

The mischievous Monkey (2004) is innovative, improviser, and a motivator. The monkey is most like man himself. What ever they choose to do the monkey will succeed, no challenge is to great a chore, and they have the ability to use their intelligence when it is most needed. However they do not respect others well as they have too much respect for them selves. Very competitive, confident and cocky the monkey has been known to use his cunning powers to get their way. They are very sociable and can hold positions of high power. Very self-absorbed the monkey is not a giver for giving sake, in love the monkey will be warm and spontaneous, but be prepared to work hard and always strive for better, love in it’s self is not enough, ambition is indeed the forever attraction. What ever you do, never try to trick a monkey they will have the last word, and watch them carefully they are masters of trickery. Fun can be had with a monkey if you like a little mischief or mayhem.

Wake up to the Rooster. (2005) Has self-assurance and is old fashioned. They are generally very attractive people, who are acute neat organized decisive upright alert and direct. They can also be argumentative and a little cruel to others, they love to lord over other with their imposing knowledge. High perform ring roosters seek opportunities to excel at anything, and if you try to challenge their knowledge you are in for a long haul, roosters do their homework and know their stuff. Do not be around when a rooster is negative, they are egotistical opinioned and very abrasive, you will come out reeling from the experience. They are very good at handling money, accountants banking and finances. Roosters will follow orders to a T, and they are very good detailed people and, accountable with your interest at heart. All roosters are perfectionist, with a sharp eye for details, but if they think that they are right about something, they may close their mind to any other input. They are excellent right hand men but sway away from the front line, as they do not have the public personality or patience that is needed to be up front. Roosters love praise and are allergic to criticism; they make a good spouse and a good family person, just as long as they are boss. For all that steadfastness, they are very vulnerable but will fight showing it.

The likeable Dog (2006) (another of my children) is honest, intelligent and direct. They are the most loyal and trustworthy of creatures and have much passion for Justas and fair play. Dogs are friends to all people, and are fair listeners meeting people half way. Dogs will look out for everyone no matter what, but is inclined to neglect their own self and leave themselves vulnerable. The dog has a great understanding of humans, and instinctively knows the right from wrong, who to believe and who to be weary off. When a dog loves, it is with all its heart and loyalty, this is often taken advantage of and the dog often gets hurt. Forgiveness is strong and even if they move on they will remember the once loved one fondly. Do not push the dog into a corner, they will instinctively come out fighting in any which way. In love, the dog likes to get to know their suitor slowly as trust is an issue, but once trust is in place, they will encourage growth in their loved ones and equilibrium in their lives. As it is with children the dog will act like a playful puppy when young, and will take time to learn the ways of the world, but what is nice is that they will never loose their playfulness. All in all a dog is a very good person to have in your life in any way.

The steadfast Pig (2007) is, of all the signs, one of honesty and of real genuine personality. The pig is the ultimate diplomat, balancing both sides and keeping the peace. The pig are those people that make everything happen with ease so as you do not notice it even happening, but notice if they are not there. They socialize very well, and like to be in the company of up and coming people, though they prefer to watch from a distance. Excellent in the line of fundraising and social work, the pig does not mind being truly committed to the cause. The pig is a little too trusting and allows themselves to be exploited by others without knowing it. In love the pig is devoted and does everything for they’re loved ones except perhaps discipline them well, as they do not like confrontation. The pig is unselfish and caring and is very good to have as a friend if their motives are not interfering or judgmental.

Having had experiences with all of the signs, I have to say there is a lot in it. We take on the characters of the animals and unknowly become them. I also believe that the "True Colours", Zodiac and ‘numerology" plays a big part in it too. The Chinese take this all very seriously. This year, February 11 is Chinese New Years Eve, and it is welcomed with feasting and socialization. There are parades, and the Dragons and the Lions performing for money, reflecting the old times when they used to give protection money to the gods for said protection. Not much has changed there, except that it is done far more aggressively now.

I am married to a Chinese man and for the last 21 years we have celebrated New Years with food, family and friends. The adults give the children lucky money (in little red envelopes) and we wish each other a prosperous year ahead. The celebrations last two weeks with many happenings in the Chinese community. It has got so big now that many western organizations have joined in the parades, and you can see lots of little children dressed in Kung fu outfits or traditional clothing, so cute. My children have been going to these parades and celebrations for 19 years now and enjoy the food aspect of it all. Dim Sum, which is an assortment of individual items of delicious food in small amounts, is brought around to your table on trolleys so that you can look and choose. There is so much variety and the items like "hargou" (shrimp dumpling) or sumi (pork dumpling) and chasui bows (steamed buns filled with sweet barbeque pork) are just some of the items to make your mouth water.

Eat drink and be merry. All cultures have this is someway or other, this one is colorful edible and fun. If you are anywhere near a ChinaTown this year, give it a try, it is an experience that many be enjoyed year after year.
"Gong Hey Fat Choi"
"Happy New Year.
May it be a positive year for you.
© Sara Towe. 12.02.02
Vancouver Canada.
Footnote. For those of you that read my August article on getting my citizenship, an update, on February 13, I finally become a Canadian Citizen. EDs note: She did it.

Previously on Hacks by Sara Towe
Dealing with lonliness in a relationship

You can visit Sara's new website right now -

Shedding of the winter skin.
Sara Towe escapes to the sun

So off we went, all aware of this last trip and that we do not spend a lot of time together as a family anymore.

Sara Towe

Why is it the regular man does not quite measure up to our sexy screen stars?

In Memory of a Father

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