Happy New Year, you rat

7 Feb

yearoftherat.gifToday marks the first day of the Chinese New Year.  The year of the Pig has just ended, and we are now starting the year of the Rat.

My mom phoned on the weekend to tell me that this year I shouldn’t wear red on this day.  Red is normally a colour for celebrations, so I was a bit surprised to hear this.  I didn’t get the full story for why, but here’s the general gist of it.

In the Chinese zodiac, there are sixty heavenly generals (called “Tai Sui“) who assist the Jade Emperor in taking care of the well-being of the Mortal World. Each of them takes turn to be in charge for a year.  The Tai Sui general for this year has some kind of conflict with people who were born in the years of the Rat, Rabbit, Horse, and Rooster.  (What the conflict is, I wasn’t able to find out.)  In order to avoid offending Tai Sui, anyone born in those years should not wear red today.  Also, to break the spell, they should wear something blue, which is not normally considered one of the “lucky” colours.

I’m a horse (as is my mom), so I fall into that category of people who are offensive to this year’s Tai Sui.  I’m not really a superstitious person, but I do try to be a Good Daughter, so I am complying with the “wear-no-red-but-wear-blue” edict, even though it made getting dressed this morning very difficult.  In trying to research why I shouldn’t wear red, which is my favourite colour, by the way, I also found that I should avoid black (bad luck) and white (mourning).  Hell, if I’m going to do it at all, I might as well do it all the way.  Besides, it doesn’t hurt to be cautious, right?  Must be why I almost always pick up pennies.

Photo stolen from The Chinatown Blog
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3 Responses to “Happy New Year, you rat”

  1. shannon February 7, 2008 at 1:04 pm #

    very interesting posting; i just happen to be wearing all blue today!!! thank you so much for making me feel ‘good’ about wearing jogging pants in public today (because doing so was bothering me a bit because i ran into a good friend who was dressed in a suit no less) 😀
    oh, and happy new year!!! so glad the year of the pig is OVER WITH!!!! this is going to be a terrific year – can’t wait!!!!

  2. MommyTime February 7, 2008 at 7:52 pm #

    And the rules are so complex. I’m year of the Dog, so I think I should wear red. Except I’m not Chinese, so I don’t know if it matters. But I will do my best for the party this weekend.

  3. fawnahareo February 8, 2008 at 8:46 am #

    Definitely wear red! The “real” New Year day is over, so I don’t suppose it matters anymore and red is such a colour of celebration! Besides, from the sledding pics of you the other day, it looks like you’re a “winter” like me, so I’m sure you look fabulous in red! I’m going to a Chinese New year party this evening, and I’m wearing red witha vengeance. 😀

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