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Showing posts from February, 2015

Kindness in the Year of the Goat

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On Wednesday 18th of February, more than a billion Chinese around the world welcomed the dawn of another lunar new year. In traditional Chinese astrology, different animals symbolize the character of the year in a twelve-year cycle. This New Year happens to be the Year of the Goat. Some prefers to call it the Year of the Ram, and yet others, the year of the Sheep. In Mongolia, they prefer their gazelle!

There are people who debate about which is the correct animal. According to an official Xinhua news agency, some scholars argue goat is a better option for the traditional Han Chinese holiday, as it is a more commonly kept farm animal for the dominant ethnic group in China. But many Chinese folklorists think that the debate misses the point. What is important is the connotations of the sign rather than the specific nature of the animal.

The symbol 羊 (yang) can refer to any member of the caprine family. For example, a goat is a "mountain yang", a she…