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Happy Year of the Boar

year%20of%20the%20pig.jpg The Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, was on Sunday. People are still celebrating through today in most parts of Asia (different countries observe it as a public holiday for different amounts of time). So how did the animals get paired up with their respective years? I liked the explanation from the Chinese Culture Center in San Francisco:
According to Chinese legend, the twelve animals quarreled one day as to who was to head the cycle of years. The gods were asked to decide and they held a contest: whoever was to reach the opposite bank of the river would be first, and the rest of the animals would receive their years according to their finish.
All the twelve animals gathered at the river bank and jumped in. Unknown to the ox, the rat had jumped upon his back. As the ox was about to jump ashore, the rat jumped off the ox's back, and won the race. The pig, who was very lazy, ended up last. That is why the rat is the first year of the animal cycle, the ox second, and the pig last.
China Central Television (CCTV) also aired their annual gala and midnight countdown. The variety show of live entertainment and performances is the country’s most watched event (You can watch some clips on Youtube). Apparently, they banned advertisements with pigs from the event.

Photo of pig statues in Singapore from Beggs' Flickr stream (CC)


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