Lunar New Year: the snake

Today begins one of the twelve years of the Chinese lunar calendar (observed beyond the boundaries of China, of course): the year of the serpent, or snake, one of the two notably phallic years on the calendar (the other is the dragon; I am a dragon). Many many images, ranging from the traditional to the cute. Here’s one combining the snake image with the name of the year in Western script:

It’s a big thing in this part of the world.

The Cantonese wish for prosperity in the new year: Gung1 hei2 faat3 coi4. Usually rendered as Gung hay fat choi in English transcription, though there are a great many variant spellings.

May you have a prosperous new year. And the pleasure of snakes, as they suit you.

 

3 Responses to “Lunar New Year: the snake”

  1. Will Says:

    If we’re going for phallic zodiacs, I’d be inclined to include 鸡 as well. It’s often translated as ‘cock’ (and is my animal).

  2. Bob Richmond Says:

    I’m a wabbit (1939), not phallic but fertile. The 12 year Chinese calendar cycle marks the passage of Jupiter through 12 successive asterisms along the ecliptic as Jupiter moves through its 12-year orbit. These asterisms do not correspond to zodiacal signs.

    The inflection of the word “asterism”, by the way: my constellation, your asterism, his damnable astrological superstition.

  3. Z Says:

    You have to imagine these hordes of Chinese traveling home to celebrate with family and friends. Busses and trains fully packed with people – like crazy. For some people this is torture. But in the end it’s worth it.

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