Feeling sheepish

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Illustration by Estefania B. Alonso

Chinese New Year marks the year of the sheep Thursday.

By Kyle R. Cotton


The legend of how the Jade Emperor selected the Chinese zodiac varies between two popular tales.

In the first according to www.astrology.com, the Jade Emperor, who had ruled heaven and Earth for quite some time, grew curious as to what the creatures of Earth looked like; he himself had not visited his earthly kingdom.

The Jade Emperor invited 12 animals to the heavens to satiate his curiosity and to create the zodiac.

The rat, jealous of the cat, hid the emperor’s invitation.

When only 11 animals arrived before the emperor, he asked his servants to retrieve a twelfth.

The servants hastily grabbed a pig at the last second.

The next day the cat found out the emperor had determined zodiac and the cat was too late.

The second tale was a race across a roaring river for the honor to be part of the zodiac.

According to Washington University’s student support services department, the rat, eager to win, forgot to wake the cat, and rode the ox across the river.

The rat finished first, jumping off the ox’s head to land on the bank.

In order followed the ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and boar.

According to www.travelchinaguide.com, those born in the year of the sheep tend to be clever, shy and kindhearted.

Those years were 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991 and 2003.

Timid by nature, sheep usually don’t dare to express their love openly.

Students born in the year of the sheep will have trouble concentrating this year and should adjust their emotions to focus on their studies.

Notable sheep include Michaelangelo, Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Barbara Walters, Orville Wright and Bruce Willis.

Shen Jiang, a computer information systems instructor, said, “Chinese New Year is the equivalent to Christmas time, the biggest get-together for the whole family, which is a big deal since the Chinese respect family more than the individual.”

She noted if you are a sheep you should wear red.

“It’s good luck, especially with underwear.”

She said particularly in the northern region, the female members of the family prepare dumplings for most of Chinese New Year’s Eve for a midnight celebration, one of the most important meals of the New Year celebration.

At midnight, members of the family burn money to send it to deceased ancestors.

Jiang noted the fireworks traditionally associated with the New Year are meant to scare away evil spirits.

Jiang won’t be going to China because of her work here.

“This time of the year is busiest time of the year for phone lines between here, or anywhere in the world to China and people calling back.”


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