As you may know, each new year is marked by the characteristics of one of the 12 zodiac animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. The Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in China.
The Chinese New Year’s animal symbol is always paired with one of the 5 elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth. This year we will experience an Earth Dog. Since it is also an Earth year in Western astrology, we can be sure that Mother Earth will make herself heard.
I have a preference for this animal because, according to the Chinese Zodiac, I am a Dog. There are actually quite a few well-known Dogs (check the list at the bottom for famous dogs). This includes our current President, Donald Trump (and his wife), the 4th American president born in a Dog Year (June 14, 1946). Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are also dogs, but Trump is the first American President to be a dog and to hold that office in the Year of the Dog.
Trump is a Fire Dog. To welcome the coming dog year a mall in northern China has installed a giant canine statue with a red scarf, a slick orange pompadour and a raised index finger in a distinctly Trump-like manner.
The year of the Dog is associated with finding balance and order. Combined with Earth energy, this year is about being grounded and creating stability. The Earth element is slow to move but puts down strong roots. Dog years have a duality – wanting to take action and move forward but needing to be careful, not reckless. It is important to rest, reflect and look inside ourselves. This is a year to worry more about others, to be of service, and not over-focus on material gain.
Dogs are innocent, loving animals, but there is also a darker side to the year of the Dog.According to Chinese Astrology, this year is a time to tread carefully when dealing with sensitive situations. This is because there could be a tendency to lash out, become overly attached or stubborn.
Overall, the year of the Yang Earth Dog has potential to be positive. This year, it is especially important to honor the cycles of our lives and environment, and find a fun-loving approach to life no matter where the journey takes us.
There are many rituals people perform to ensure a smooth year ahead. Some clean their homes and put up red posters with poetic verses on their doors. Cleaning their homes removes the clutter of the past year and allows space for good luck in the year to come. Red is the color of luck in China, which is why we will see it in abundance during celebrations.
One way the Chinese people enhance their good fortune for the coming new year is by eating “lucky” foods. These special foods are believed to bring good luck into the new year if you eat them at this time.
How to eat your way to good fortune in the new year:
* Perhaps the luckiest of all foods to consume at the new year is a whole fish. According to the Chinese, you must be sure to include the head and tail for a good beginning, middle and end of the year.
* An easier food that doesn’t have a head or tail to consume is an orange. Eating and displaying oranges is said to bring good luck and money.
* Eat spring rolls is you want more money.
* Try sweet rice balls to bring your family closer
* During the first five days of the New Year, eat long noodles to symbolize long life.
* My favorite, and I’m willing to celebrate the new year every day with this one – is a sweet treat. Serving and consuming desserts will brings sweetness into your life in the coming year.
honest – idealistic – selfless – loyal – steadfast – sincere – a great friend – a compassionate nature – they can be critical and/or stubborn
Are you a Dog? Dog years are below, if you’re born in January or February check the date of the Chinese Year as you may miss the cut off.
1934 – 1946 – 1958 – 1970 – 1982 – 1994 – 2006 – 2018
Giorgio Armani, Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin, Brigitte Bardot, Angela Basset, Justin Bieber, Jessica Biel, George W. Bush, Tim Burton, Mariah Carey, Paul Cézanne, Winston Churchill, Matt Damon, Judi Dench, Kirsten Dunst, Michael Jackson, Tommy Lee Jones, Queen Latifah, Sophia Loren, Madonna, Golda Meir, River Phoenix, Prince, Carl Sagan, Susan Sarandon, Steven Spielberg, Sylvester Stallone, Uma Thurman, Donald J. Trump, Melania Trump, Gianni Versace, Voltaire, Prince William of Cambridge
If you’re In Chicago, you might want to go to Chinatown, where there is an annual parade to celebrate the new year. It features a marching band, the traditional dragon, lion dances and decorative floats.
Jennifer Dubowsky, LAc, is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in downtown Chicago, Illinois. She maintains a popular blog about health and Chinese medicine at Acupuncture Blog Chicago. Adventures in Chinese Medicine is her first book. You can find her at www.tcm007.com.