Year of the Pig brings honesty and fun

January 30, 1995|By Meiyou Zhou | Meiyou Zhou,Knight-Ridder News Service

Chinese legend has it that Buddha called all the animals in the kingdom together to say goodbye before he left this world thousands of years ago.

Twelve animals showed up.

First came the aggressive rat, then the hard-working ox. At their heels bounded the smiling tiger and his crony, the cautious rabbit. Soon the proud dragon appeared, followed by the wise snake. The gifted horse came galloping after them, and up gamboled the gentle goat. In their wake came the merry monkey, then in strutted the proud rooster. The last to be heard from were the faithful dog and the scrupulous pig.

Buddha honored them in the order of their arrival, and endowed each with a year of its own. From that new year forward, each successive year of the Chinese calendar bore the character of the animal that gave it a name.

Tomorrow begins the Year of the Pig.

In China, people born in specific animal years are believed to be marked by the nature and disposition of their natal animal. Chinese people assume that "tigers" make excellent husbands, and children of a "dog" parent are lucky. For serious advice, turn to a "snake"; but to enliven a party, put a few "pigs" on the guest list. Some parents try hard to avoid having a baby in a Year of the Pig in fear that the "piggy" will be too lazy and self-indulgent; other parents hate to give birth to a "goat" girl, for she is supposed to have a rather tough life.

To find your own sign, all you need to know is the year of your birth. Although there are no complicated rising signs or intricate charts to reckon with, the Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year. It can occur as early as mid-January or as late as mid-February.

This Year of the Pig actually runs from Jan. 31, 1995, to Feb. 18, 1996. (Other recent pig years fell mainly in 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971 and 1983.)

For Chinese, the pig is the sign of honesty. People born in the Year of the Pig are believed to be domestic, hard-working,

down-to-earth, unassuming, self-indulgent and happy with their lot.

Babies born this year will be easygoing, tolerant, sociable, friendly, easy to amuse, and will have a wonderful sense of humor, according to British astrologer Lori Reid. What pig babies need most is comfort, says Ms. Reid, author of "Chinese Horoscopes," published this month by Sterling Publishing Co. Inc. in New York.

Those born in the Year of the Pig, says Ms. Reid, "like to lead a soft and easy life. They don't like problems or hardships. They like to eat and drink; they like to feel warm and happy."

That would certainly seem to describe America's most famous, not to mention most glamorous, porcine personality -- star of stage, screen, ice rink and exercise video, Miss Piggy. Contacted in California, where she is making a movie, Miss Piggy said: "As far as moi am concerned, every year is the year of the pig."

A list of human celebrities born in pig years includes Al Capone, Ernest Hemingway, Diahann Carroll, Lucille Ball, Elton John, Ronald Reagan, Eldridge Cleaver, Woody Allen, Julie Andrews, the Duchess of York, Tracey Ullman, Henry Kissinger and John McEnroe.

In a Year of the Pig, people will "have a good time," says Ms. Reid, who has written 12 books about horoscopes and palmistry. "There will be a lot more optimism this year. People will find more money in their pockets and won't mind spending it. Business will be better and buoyant."

USA Today recently quoted a number of Wall Street analysts who noted that pig years are invariably good for the stock market.

Ms. Reid, a top hand analyst and astrology consultant in Britain who became fascinated with Chinese astrology a few years ago, predicts that this year will be "a rather laissez-faire time, a period of relaxation, of pleasure and self-indulgence. Sports, film, entertainment, restaurants and fashion will hit the headlines."

Because the Pig closes the 12-year cycle, Ms. Reid says, it is not an auspicious year for starting anything new. But it is a time for reaping benefits from past efforts. It is a year for "tying up loose ends, for finalizing deals and putting the finishing touches to all .. those projects that have been lying about unfinished."

Although this should be a year of achievements for most people, Ms. Reid warns against "going over the top."

"People need self-control," Ms. Reid says. "They tend to spend too much, eat too much and drink too much. They should be

careful not to go to the extreme."

Guoxiong Lin, one of the most famous fortune-tellers in Hong Kong, says destructive activities such as digging wells, felling trees or pulling down a house will bring bad luck to the doers and surrounding residents in the Year of the Pig. And people whose houses face northwest are advised not to do anything such as redecorating or rebuilding the houses all year round.

Guoxiong Lin has been a professional astrologer, palmist and master of feng shui (the Asian art of object placement) since 1975.

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